Hours after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced one other six-week lockdown, chancellor Rishi Sunak on Tuesday introduced £four.6 billion ($6.25 billion) in grants for firms that can be closed no less than till mid-February, as new Covid-19 circumstances continued to spike.
Calling the current spike pushed by the brand new variant “alarming”, Johnson clamped the third lockdown in England, efficient from early Wednesday. Scotland went right into a lockdown on Monday evening whereas Wales and Northern Eire have related robust restrictions.
Sunak mentioned, “The brand new pressure of the virus presents us all with an enormous problem – and whereas the vaccine is being rolled out, now we have wanted to tighten restrictions additional. All through the pandemic, we’ve taken swift motion to guard lives and livelihoods and at present we’re asserting an additional money injection to assist companies and jobs till spring.
“This can assist companies to get via the months forward – and crucially it should assist maintain jobs, so employees will be able to return when they’re able to reopen.”
The UK authorities has already borrowed almost £250 billion since early 2020 and supplied assist to firms to furlough workers and to the self-employed, in addition to concessions and grants to firms.
Michael Gove, cupboard minister, admitted on Tuesday morning that the lockdown might final till March. Parliament has been recalled on Wednesday to move associated laws for the third lockdown since March 2020.
A grim-faced Johnson mentioned on Monday evening, “(We) now have a brand new variant of the virus. It has been each irritating and alarming to see the velocity with which the brand new variant is spreading. Our scientists have confirmed this new variant is between 50 and 70 per cent extra transmissible.
“As I converse to you tonight, our hospitals are below extra stress from Covid than at any time because the begin of the pandemic. In England alone, the variety of Covid sufferers in hospitals has elevated by almost a 3rd within the final week, to nearly 27,000.”
He added, “That quantity is 40% greater than the primary peak in April. On December 29, greater than 80,000 folks examined constructive for Covid throughout the UK – a brand new file. The variety of deaths is up by 20% over the past week and can sadly rise additional.
“With a lot of the nation already below excessive measures, it’s clear that we have to do extra, collectively, to convey this new variant below management whereas our vaccines are rolled out. In England, we should due to this fact go right into a nationwide lockdown which is hard sufficient to include this variant. Which means the federal government is as soon as once more instructing you to remain at residence.”