Covid-19 in UK: Johnson closes Liverpool pubs and reactivates field hospitals


Take drastic decisions, while avoiding widespread reconfinement. In order to ‘crush wherever it appears’ the returning coronavirus, and as the UK is hit hard by a new wave of contaminations, Boris Johnson has decided to implement a simplified and unified version of the local restrictions imposed in recent weeks.

Faced with the risk of overflowing British health services, the British Prime Minister notably closed the pubs in Liverpool, but also reactivated three field hospitals that had already been set up in the spring.

To date, the restrictions affect a quarter of the UK’s population, mostly in the North. The diversity of measures from one region to another making them sometimes illegible, the Prime Minister announced on Monday, before the deputies and then before the nation, the establishment, as in France, of a new alert system at three levels: “medium”, “high” and “very high”.

This system is supposed to simplify from Wednesday the current patchwork of restrictions for England alone, the other nations being competent to apply their own device.

“We must act now”

The first level corresponds to the measures valid for all of England: gatherings limited to six people and closing at 10 p.m. for pubs and restaurants. For areas at “high” level, meetings between different households will be prohibited indoors and for those at “very high” level, additional measures will be applied with the support of local authorities, supported if necessary by the army.

In the Liverpool region (nearly 1.5 million inhabitants), in the North West, an agreement has been reached to close pubs, bars, gyms and casinos, while discussions are underway with the elected from other areas of northern England.

With more than 42,800 deaths, unparalleled in Europe, and nearly 618,000 positive cases, the country is facing a new wave of contaminations affecting its entire territory and all its age groups. “These numbers flash like warnings on an airplane’s dashboard. We must act now, ”Boris Johnson told Britons on Monday evening.

The number of hospitalizations greater than the month of March

“This is not how we want to live, but it is the narrow path that we must trace between the socio-economic damage of a complete containment and the economic cost of an epidemic out of control”, pleaded the Prime Minister in front of the deputies, confronted with the discontent of a part of his camp opposed to too restrictive measures.

Health authorities have warned of the worrying situation in hospitals. The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 in England is now higher than it was when confinement was declared at the end of March. In the most affected regions, hospital services are starting to see their functioning affected.

To help the health system, three of the large field hospitals set up in disaster in the spring in the North, and since put on hiatus, have been instructed “to mobilize for the next few weeks to be ready to receive patients. if necessary ”, announced the medical director of the health service for England Stephen Powis. Others might follow.

“The death toll will increase”

“There is still no treatment, still no vaccine for Covid-19. Unfortunately, this means that as infections increase, the death toll will increase, ”warned Stephen Powis.

The new restrictions have been greeted with hostility by local elected officials in the north of England, who consider the employment support measures put in place by the executive insufficient and fear that their financial balance will be jeopardized. Worried about a “catastrophic” effect on the nightlife of measures “unjust and without scientific logic”, the federation of bars and nightclubs NTIA has announced that it wants to challenge them in court.

On Friday, the government announced new employment assistance measures targeting businesses that are forced to remain closed because of restrictions on activity to fight the pandemic. These companies will receive up to 3,000 pounds (nearly 3,310 euros) per month and their employees will be compensated up to two-thirds of their usual salary.

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