Health secretary Matt Hancock revealed that UK will take more draconian measures to keep the mutant strains of virus out and the borders restrictions will be in place till Autumn.
In a recent interview, the UK Health Secretary warned border restrictions may need to stay until autumn. This statement was released even though the figures are showing a firm retreat in COVID-19 cases for the UK.
However, Tories went furious and took an aim at Matt Hancock as he unveiled the latest brutal squeeze aimed at preventing mutant coronavirus strains from getting into the country. The lockdown is already pretty hard on everyone. Hence, the news of 8 more months of lockdown was too much for Tories.
Even though the numbers are shrinking. The UK is still in a bad place in terms of coronavirus cases. The Department of Health announced 12,364 more coronavirus cases and 1,052 deaths in the past 24 hours as the winter wave continues to shrink because of lockdown.
The numbers, however, are down by 26.6 percent as compared to last Tuesday’s figures. The number of deaths has also decreased by 27.4 percent. Moreover, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital has also fallen by a fifth in a week, with nearly 27,000 beds now taken up by COVID-19 sufferers.
Furthermore, the DoH revealed another 356,291 coronavirus vaccines were administered yesterday, with 12.6million Brits having now received their first dose. The country plans on injecting the 15 million most vulnerable by February 15.
Amidst all this, citizens were hoping that the vaccine would shorten the lockdown period. Hence, when Hancock unveiled the latest suite of border curbs and warned they could last until the Autumn when booster vaccines will be available it broke all the hopes and resulted in furious citizens.
Apart from this, Hancock announced that travelers from high-risk 'red list' countries will be forced to spend 10 days in 'quarantine hotels', and all arrivals must test negative three times through gold-standard PCR coronavirus tests before being allowed to freely move around the UK. Anyone who lies about whether they have been to places on the banned list recently will face up to 10 years in prison.
That is when all the backlash started. Former chief whip Mark Harper, chair of the lockdown-skeptic CRG bloc of around 70 MPs, urged the government to reconsider its approach with Covid likely to be a permanent issue. 'If the virus continues to mutate, surely the risk is going to be there forever,' he said. Moreover, Tory MP Craig Mackinlay told MailOnline that he was skeptical about the border crackdown and it might do ‘more damage than it tries to solve’.
“These things will mutate… no matter where it is, in any population around the world. I’m not sure it doesn’t do more damage than it is trying to solve.”
However, Hancock played down the fall in case numbers and said there was still too much pressure on hospitals to consider easing restrictions at this time. He said that he will not apologize for such drastic measures.
He also revealed that the government is creating a new criminal offense of hiding from the authorities that you have visited one of the countries on the UK's 'red list'
Unfortunately, Millions of Britons have already booked trips ahead of the Prime Minister's announcement of the country's plan for easing restrictions on February 22 and Matt Hancock has previously predicted a 'Great British Summer'.
Many influential people are not agreeing with the measures. Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy firm the PC Agency, said the government needs to signal restrictions will be diluted from the start of April so travel can recover.
“The outlook may seem cloudy right now, as government tightens restrictions for those entering the UK. But, when infection and mortality rates are much lower and the NHS is not under pressure due to vaccines taking effect, then there is no reason for such measures to be in place.”
UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said,
"We hope that the government will give a strong signal that Britain will be open this summer so that businesses can begin to make preparations. We can't downplay how serious this has been for our sector. Businesses are telling us that only one in five has enough cash flow to last past the end of this month. We have suffered over 600,000 job losses and we still have more than one million staff on furlough. Lots of businesses have gone under, but many have persevered doggedly throughout the crisis.”
Nevertheless, there is a chance that things will ease down in April to prevent throwing businesses in different industries over the edge.
Article and Image source: Dailymail