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Bleak Outlook Triggers Further Pandemic Restrictions, ‘Stay At Home’ Says PM

Published on: 4 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 4 Jan, 2021

By Martin Giles

As further pandemic restrictions are imposed this evening (January 4) the infection rates and hospital admissions across the South East continue to rise.

They are now said to be at least as high as they were at the peak of the “first wave” in April. Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospitals and other NHS trusts in England, said the data showed the pandemic was at a “critical point” and that “immediate and decisive action” was necessary.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces the new restrictions

Action soon followed when this evening Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was a “pivotal moment”.

It is he said “both frustrating and alarming” to see the speed at which the new variant, said to be between 50% and 70% more transmissible, is spreading.

He also announced a target of vaccinating everyone over 70 and other exposed groups, such as health and care workers, by the middle of February.

And all schools are to close with teaching all moving online. Primary schools only reopened today after the Christmas holiday.

He concluded by reiterating the message used during the first lockdown: “Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Latest figures show hospital admissions in the South East to have jumped again by the biggest margin to date, nearly 1200 extra admissions.

Fortunately, Covid-associated deaths remain low, even after weeks of increasing infections.

The higher infection rates are continuing to spread westwards and northwestwards from Kent, London and Essex.

And within the borough, areas with highest levels of infections are in the Ash wards and Bellfields.

See also: Local Covid-19 Stats

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