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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.”
We don’t want to have lockdowns. The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself! https://t.co/sHBJfG9T8X
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2020
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.”
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) April 19, 2020
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.”
When Boris makes a cast iron commitment to not change policy, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s only a matter of days before he does a u-turn. https://t.co/cLpaxRjMVC
— Toby Young (@toadmeister) December 19, 2020
And yet he himself has now effectively cancelled Christmas.
See more backlash and complaints below (*Language warning):
Londoners celebrated Christmas in 1940 in the middle of the fucking blitz.
Now in 2020 it’s cancelled because of a situation that has left hospital beds EMPTIER than this time last year.
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) December 19, 2020
It feels even worse to me that Boris is presenting these decisions as courageous, as though this is an example of leadership. I commended him for allowing a smidgen of judgement & common sense last week, for trusting people. He’s destroyed that now & destroyed any trust in him
— Claire Fox (@Fox_Claire) December 19, 2020
Surely the govt should be reassuring the public and projecting confidence. Instead our govt spread fear and panic. The endless oppressive restrictions must surely produce open revolt from the public soon. This country is no longer a democracy.
— Luke Johnson (@LukeJohnsonRCP) December 19, 2020
It’s crystal clear – as Britain falls into the grips of authoritarianism, the pillars of democracy we thought we had have already crumbled.
Because as this is happening, there is NO alarm ringing on the BBC, in parliament or even courts.
Barely. Even. Questions.
— Silkie Carlo (@silkiecarlo) December 19, 2020
So @BorisJohnson said there would be no further lockdowns without a Parliamentary vote.
Tier 4 is a lockdown.
Yet no vote.
This not a democracy anymore.
It’s full on tyranny.
— Laura Perrins (@LPerrins) December 19, 2020
To those unaware, this is Britain circa 2020:
> Tier 4 is introduced to 40% of Britain, meaning that seeing your family for Christmas carries fines and arrests
> Illegals are still being ferried over by our boats and sent to 4 star hotels across southern England
— Jacob Barden (@JacobBardenUK) December 19, 2020
Your grandparents would get arrested if they tried to drop off presents at your house, but illegal migrants will be housed in a 4 star hotel this Christmas.
— Jacob Barden (@JacobBardenUK) December 19, 2020
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.”
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