UK has unprecedented covid-19 wave

Prime minister asks the population to avoid socializing

Published in 16/12/2021 - 09:39 By RTP - Londres

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Professor Chris Whitty, responsible for public health in the UK, have in recent hours called on the population to avoid excessive socialization before Christmas. The country is facing a new wave of unprecedented cases - this Wednesday (15), it registered 78.61 thousand infections, the highest daily number since the beginning of the pandemic. France has already resumed restrictions for travelers from the UK.

The number of confirmed cases of infection by SARS-CoV-2, released yesterday by health authorities, exceeds by 10,000 the maximum reached in January this year. Since the start of the covid-19 pandemic, the UK, with a population of around 67 million people, has reported over 11 million cases and over 146,000 deaths.

At the origin of this sharp increase is, according to British authorities, the combination of the Delta and Ômicron variants which, earlier this week, had already taken the prime minister and warned of a “tidal wave” of infections. Boris Johnson once again addressed the population to ask for great caution in socialization. He rejected, however, the closing of bars and restaurants.

“Think carefully before you go”, he limited himself to saying at a press conference. Along with the prime minister, Chris Whitty, in turn, called on the British to avoid "mixing with people" unnecessarily. It also plotted the prognosis of new infection peaks as the Ômicron variant spreads.

The UK Health Safety Agency will start to include reinfections in its daily epidemiological bulletins. Whitty said the country is facing "two epidemics": the first of the Ômicron variant, which is "very quickly growing," and the second of the Delta variant.

Ômicron, said the British doctor, is evolving at a phenomenal pace: "I'm afraid we have to be realistic about the records that will be broken in the coming weeks."

Chris Whitty admitted that the scientific community does not yet have all the data on hospitalizations, severe illness and deaths caused by Ômicron, but noted that what is already known is bad. "Don't get mixed up"

Whitty advised the public to prioritize events and celebrations “that really matter” as “the risk of infection” is high in unnecessary social events.

The British Prime Minister has insisted that this year's Christmas will be “considerably better” than 2020, as the government is not currently contemplating the possibility of reinforced containment measures.

Health Security Agency chief executive Jenny Harries referred to the Ômicron variant as “probably the most significant threat” since the onset of the pandemic.

Speaking to a Parliament committee, Harries estimated that "the numbers for the coming weeks will be staggering compared to the pace of case growth seen in previous variants." Ea admitted that the public health service could be in “serious danger” with Ômicron.

France tightens restrictions

Faced with the threat of a fifth wave of contagion and the spread of Ômicron, the French government decided to tighten the rules on entry into its territory for travelers from the United Kingdom.

"We are going to adopt an even more drastic control than that which exists today", announced on Thursday the spokesman for the Executive, Gabriel Attal.

“We are going to reduce the validity of the test to enter France. Until now, it was 48 hours, it is now 24 hours. We are going to limit the reasons that allow traveling from the UK to France”, he said. These displacements will be “limited to residents and their families”.

It will also be limited to travel "tourist or professional for people who are not residents of France.

Text translated using artificial intelligence.

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