DEPUTY DIRECTOR – GLOBAL NEWS COORDINATION, LONDON / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.
Media www.rajawalisiber.com – Ten months after its first national lockdown, Britain is again imposing the stiffest restrictions on its people as it tries to control a sky-rocketing surge in coronavirus infections blamed on a more contagious virus variant.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new national lockdown for England until at least mid-February, saying in a televised address that people must stay at home again, as they were ordered to do when the pandemic erupted in March, Danica Kirka and Sylvia Hui report from London.
Johnson warned ”the weeks ahead will be the hardest yet” because the virus variant was spreading in a “frustrating and alarming” way. He added that British hospitals are under more pressure from the virus now than at any time during the crisis.
Beginning today, schools and colleges will be closed to in-person learning except for the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils. People were told to work from home unless it’s impossible to do so.
Hours earlier, Scotland’s leader, Nicola Sturgeon, also imposed a lockdown there with broadly similar restrictions that runs until the end of January.
The announcements came on the same day that U.K. health authorities became the first in the world to begin using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, fueling hopes that life may begin returning to normal by the spring.
British authorities have recorded more than 50,000 new infections daily since passing that milestone for the first time on Dec. 29, and the country’s confirmed death toll is now over 75,000.
France Vaccines: France’s cautious approach to its virus vaccine rollout appears to have backfired. Only about 500 people were vaccinated in the first week, compared to 200,000 in neighboring Germany, rekindling anger over the government’s handling of the pandemic. The slow rollout was blamed on mismanagement, staffing shortages over the holidays and a complex consent policy designed to accommodate vaccine skepticism among the French public. Doctors and opposition politicians are pleading for speedier access to vaccines. Angela Charlton reports from Paris.
- Mexico has approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, hoping to spur a halting vaccination effort that has only given out 44,000 shots so far.