LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Monday defend his plan to exclude England from criticism of his late actions, and others in his party who say the move is excessive.
After criticizing opponents’ calls last month for a new national ban on the second wave of the COVID-19 epidemic, Johnson Turn on Saturday, announcing that new restrictions in England would start at 0001 GMT on Thursday and last until December 2.
The United Kingdom, which has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in Europe, is battling more than 20,000 new cases a day. Scientists have warned of a catastrophic death toll from 80,000 dead this winter.
“Our species scientists suggest that unless we take action now, we could see twice as many winter deaths than the first wave (last spring),” Johnson said in parliament, according to his office.
“Given the latest figures, there is no alternative but to take further steps at national level.”
Saturday’s announcement comes under a vote on Wednesday that will expose Johnson in a revolt against some Conservative Party lawmakers who reject the need for a national ban.
Some Conservatives fear that the long-term economic damage caused by the closure will outweigh the health risks of allowing businesses to remain open, and that there are widespread risks to mental health and erosion of public freedom from closure.
“If these measures were taken in any dictatorial country in the world we would condemn them as evil,” Graham Brady, chairman of the Conservative Advocacy Committee, told BBC radio.
Britain has reported 46,717 deaths of COVID-19 – described as those who die within 28 days of positive testing. The overall proportion of those with COVID-19 on their death certificates puts the figure at 58,925.
Important shops, schools, and universities in England will remain open but restaurants and cafes will be closed without taking. Outbound travel is prohibited for no apparent reason including employment, and non-essential sales will be banned.
The opposition Labor Party has given its support to the government, which means that Johnson is less likely to lose a parliamentary vote. However, after Johnson rejected the workers’ call for closure, their votes would be met with strong criticism.
“They failed to learn, they failed to listen, and they failed to lead,” Labor leader Keir Starmer said in a statement.
Some countries in the United Kingdom – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – have their own lock policies and set strict health restrictions last month.
Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said on Sunday the closure of England could be extended beyond 2 December if necessary, but Johnson would tell law enforcement that the extension was not a plan. Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said he hoped the closure would end in time.