Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom prime minister, is the most recent leader to address the big question: How much of a lockdown is the proper amount?
Johnson made some decisions on Saturday, announcing national restrictive measures – while keeping schools open for another four weeks – during a news conference in London. The lockdown is set to run this coming Thursday through Dec. 2, he said.
The country’s infection rate has increased, with the Office for National Statistics reporting that 1 in 100 people have the coronavirus, compared with 1 in 2,300 in July and 1 in 200 at the start of October.
UK cases passed 1 million, its death toll reached 46,555 this week, and the trend is bleak. London School of Hygiene epidemiologist John Edmunds, from the government’s scientific advisory group, said Saturday that cases were running “significantly above” a reasonable worst-case scenario.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan criticized the slow response. “I am furious that the Government has dithered and delayed yet again,” Khan said in a statement. “Their indecision will have unimaginable consequences — both lives and livelihoods will be lost as a result.”
This lockdown will close all nonessential businesses, and people will be ordered to stay at home unless it’s for essential purposes (education, medical reasons or to shop for groceries), Johnson said during the press conference.
All bars and restaurants must close except for takeaway (or takeout) and delivery.
Johnson tested positive and was hospitalized with the coronavirus himself earlier this year.
“We will get through this, but we must act now to contain this autumn surge. We’re not going back to the full-scale lockdown of March and April,” Johnson said, adding that “the basic message is the same: Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”