England is re-fining in turn

In central Manchester, UK on October 20.

Boris Johnson has long resisted his scientific advisers, who had been suggesting real re-containment to him for several weeks already. He preferred to bet on a regional approach. But the reality of the second wave of the epidemic has caught up with the British Prime Minister, like many other leaders elsewhere in Europe.

Saturday, October 31, when the milestone of one million coronavirus infections was just exceeded, he announced a “hard” confinement of one month for England. Everything is to close from November 5 until December 2, except schools, universities, essential stores and factories.

Read also Covid-19 around the world: new containment measures in Greece, Austria, England and Belgium

“Sorry to bother you on a Saturday”, began the leader. “I still passionately think that [l’approche des restrictions régionales] was the right one, because we know the economic and societal cost of closing the economy ” But “The virus is going faster than the scenarios of our scientists. (…) We risk thousands of deaths a day, peaks worse than in April [sans des mesures radicales] Boris Johnson continued.

“We are not heading towards full containment for March and April, but the message will stay the same: stay home, protect the NHS [l’hôpital public britannique] and save lives ”, he concluded, ensuring to stay “Optimistic: things will get better next spring, with a realistic hope for vaccines and rapid tests.”

Schools will remain open

The leader, who had been slow to react during the first wave, had yet taken measures relatively early to counter the second. The “rule of six” – gatherings limited to six people indoors and outdoors – was put in place from mid-September, the system of high-risk zones from mid-October – with the partial re-containment of more than 10 millions of people in the north of England accompanied by the closure of pubs, cafes, gyms or casinos. But contamination rates continued to increase, including in the south of the country, which had until then been partially preserved.

“If nothing more is done, the number of deaths could be twice as high and even more than during the first wave”, warned Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, pointing to an English hospital capacity that could be reached around November 20 in the absence of reconfinement.

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