Over 3.6 million people in the UK have been infected with SARS-CoV-2. Over 98,500 have died in the pandemic. With the coronavirus death toll approaching 100,000, citizens are angry at the government for not taking timely and appropriate actions to curtail the viral outbreak.
Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, a group that represents 2,300 families who lost a member to the virus, harshly criticized the government response. They are calling for a judge-led inquiry into the actions of the Prime Minister and his administration.
“Their complete failure to acknowledge the mistakes they made in the first wave has cost thousands of lives in the second… The Government was told repeatedly that their course of action — particularly delaying the second lockdown to November and allowing households to mix at Christmas — would likely lead to over 100,000 people losing their lives… And they did it anyway. They chose this,” the organization’s spokesperson Jamie Brown told the Mirror.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also under pressure to reopen schools as soon as possible. Educational institutions are currently shut down as part of nationwide lockdown measures. But since the lockdown restrictions will only be reviewed by Feb. 15, Johnson has stated that he cannot guarantee students will return to school before Easter. At present, only children who are vulnerable and kids whose parents are key workers are attending school. The rest are learning from their homes.
The British government has extended lockdown powers of local councils at least until July. The powers allow local governments to order the closure of public spaces as well as establishments like restaurants, pubs, and hospitality venues. The Department of Health stated that the extension of powers is necessary under the current circumstances.
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Leader of the Heritage Party David Kurten criticized the government decision, accusing it of destroying civil liberties. Health Secretary Matt Hancock recently stated that the country is a “long, long, long way” away from ending lockdown measures given the burgeoning number of infections.
People who are vaccinated against coronavirus should still observe lockdown restrictions to avoid infecting others
“Protection takes time. Your body’s immune [system] is only fully trained up around three weeks after your jab. And, even if you have protection yourself, we still don’t know whether you will be able to pass coronavirus on to someone else… We are monitoring this very carefully and will publish information on it as soon as we have it available. So this is not a moment to ease up,” he said at a press conference.
Hancock also said that the National Health Service (NHS) is facing immense pressure due to the high number of CCP virus patients. The good news is that the number of daily infections has declined in recent days.
In early January, Britain was registering 60,000 infections per day. This has lowered to 35,000 daily cases. Almost 77 cases of the South African strain and nine cases of the Brazilian variant have also been identified. These are believed to be even more infectious than the UK variant of SARS-CoV-2.
Some experts also worry that existing vaccines may not be effective against these new strains. Hancock said in an interview with Sky News that there will be a “vaccine escape” when it comes to South African and Brazilian infections.