LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday he hoped England would not need to close for a third time after Christmas and then follow Wales and Northern Ireland in taking action to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Northern Ireland and Wales have both outlined plans to go back to the post-Christmas closure to control infection rates, raising suggestions that England could follow.
“Obviously we have high hopes that we will be able to avoid anything like that,” Johnson told reporters. “But the fact is that infection rates have risen dramatically in the last few weeks.”
Earlier, school minister Nick Gibb had said there were no restrictions, but he defended the border system by making it more efficient.
The Swathes of the people of England, including London, are likely to enter or enter the upper limit of this week, the Tier 3, which requires all hospitality such as restaurants and cafes to be closed except for the taking.
Data released on Friday showed that diseases were prevalent. The Office for National Statistics Infection Survey said cases had escalated after the end of England’s recent national detention on December 2.
Talking of strict limits comes as Britain prepares to be free from all forms of Christmas.
Johnson resisted the pressure to change the law, keeping a promise to allow three homes to meet for more than five days next week, but urged people to be extra careful.
John Edmunds, an infectious disease specialist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergency, (SAGE), said the Christmas break was dangerous as human population was still high.
“It doesn’t look like the phasing system has caught the epidemic back, unfortunately” he told Sky News. “I think we should look at these measures and maybe strengthen them.”