The country’s health minister is in no doubt:
– The corona virus is now spreading potentially in the UK. We must act to avoid more hospitalizations, more deaths and greater damage to the economy, said Minister of Health Matt Hancock when he spoke to the House of Commons on Thursday.
In the last 24 hours, 18,980 new cases of infection and 138 new coronary deaths have been registered in the UK, according to the British health authorities.
At the same time, the British have now introduced new and strict closure rules in an attempt to reduce infection rates:
The new local closure rules in the UK will in future depend on whether areas are considered to be in medium danger, high danger or very high danger.
High and very high risk
From midnight on Friday, London, Essex and York will enter level 2, ie what is described as a high risk of infection. At this level, the aim is to prevent the spread of infection between households, which means a ban on people from different households gathering indoors.
At the same time, it was planned that Manchester would close down the city according to the very high danger rules, which means that people from different households are not allowed to gather indoors or in private gardens. Bars and pubs must also close where this level is introduced.
This has led to strong protests from local politicians.
– Canary in coal mine
“We are being cheated, like canaries in a coal mine for an experimental regional shutdown strategy,” the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, told the Independent.
“This is an attempt to prevent the expense of what is really necessary,” Mayor Burnham continues.
It is said that miners used to use canaries as an “emergency warning”. A cage with a canary hung in the mine aisle, and when the bird stopped chirping, there was no more oxygen, and the miners had to get out.
– Asks us to gamble
He accuses the government of sacrificing both jobs and livelihoods to residents of the region, to avoid a national shutdown and protect the more affluent in the south, writes The Guardian.
– They ask us to gamble with our citizens’ jobs, homes and businesses, as well as a large part of our economy, based on a strategy that their own experts say may not work, the mayor says according to the newspaper.
He believes that the “least” the authorities should do instead is to offer all affected workers and companies financial compensation.
“Introducing level 3 restrictions in Greater Manchester on current terms will throw thousands into poverty this winter,” he told the Manchester Evening News.
However, after strong protests from local politicians, the plan to close down the Manchester region after level 3 has so far been shelved, the Independent writes.
The background is said to have been that the government has not been able to reach agreement on a financial aid package, the newspaper writes.
According to what is described as a dramatic meeting, MPs have been told that “no decision has been made for now”.
Thursday’s infection rate in the UK is 1440 higher than the same day last week, The Guardian’s overview shows.
On Wednesday, almost 20,000 new cases of infection and 137 new deaths were registered in the UK, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson was criticized for not wanting to introduce even stricter infection control measures, writes NTB.
“It is obvious that the government has rejected important advice from the researchers,” Labor health policy spokesman Jonathan Ashworth said earlier this week.
Johnson rejects the criticism, but admits that there is a difficult balance between large economic and social costs as a result of closure, and human costs in the form of death if one does not shut down.