UK reports new coronavirus strain, Tier 4 lockdown to ruin Christmas for Brits

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Ostensibly “conservative” U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has thrust large swaths of the island nation — from all of London to much of south and eastern England — into a “Tier 4” lockdown just in time to ruin Christmas for millions of Brits.

He announced during a press briefing Saturday that henceforth locals living in “London, the Southeast and the East of England” “must stay at home, apart from limited exemptions set out in law”  because of the coronavirus’s “rapid” spread.

“Non-essential retail, indoor gyms, and leisure facilities and personal care services must close. People must work from home if they can, but may travel to work if this is not possible, for example, in the construction and manufacturing sectors,” he continued.

“People should not enter or leave tier four areas, and tier four residents must not stay overnight away from home. Individuals can only meet one person from another household in an outdoor public space.”

He attributed the new restrictions to “the virus spreading more rapidly” in the targeted areas and claimed this spread is “being driven” by a “new variant of the virus.” The “new variant” was announced a week earlier by British health minister Matt Hancock.

“Health Secretary Matt Hancock said at least 60 different local authorities had recorded Covid infections caused by the new variant. He said the World Health Organization had been notified and UK scientists were doing detailed studies. He said there was ‘nothing to suggest’ it caused worse disease or that vaccines would no longer work,” the BBC reported at the time.

Yet in an update this past Thursday, England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, blamed the “new variant” on an increase in the coronavirus’s spread.

“As a result of the rapid spread of the new variant, preliminary modelling data and rapidly rising incidence rates in the south-east, the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) now considers that the new strain can spread more quickly. We have alerted the World Health Organization and are continuing to analyse the available data to improve our understanding,” he reportedly said.

Two days later came Boris’s lockdown announcement, which may be heard below:

The announcement provoked widespread backlash, including from U.S. President Donald Trump, who took to Twitter to remind Johnson and others of his longstanding dictate that “the cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.”

Look:

Indeed, even the World Health Organization has somewhat adopted this doctrine. In a statement three months ago, WHO envoy Dr. David Nabarro reportedly stressed that lockdowns had failed as a coronavirus control method and shouldn’t be used anymore “as the primary means of control of this virus.”

“Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never, ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer. Look what’s happened to smallholder farmers all over the world. Look what’s happening to poverty levels,” he added.

“It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition.”

Fact-check: TRUE.

Anger also erupted over Johnson’s apparent fickleness, for it’d only been days earlier when he’d accused another U.K. politican of wanting to “cancel Christmas.”

Watch:

And yet he himself has now effectively cancelled Christmas.

See more backlash and complaints below (*Language warning):

The latter two tweets aren’t fully accurate. Reuters reported in August that at the time roughly 1,000 “asylum seekers” were “housed in hotels each night.”

Vivek Saxena

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