Johnson declines to rule out post-Christmas lockdown

(Update 1: Adds latest figures for Friday)

London, Dec 18 (EFE).- The United Kingdom’s prime minister Boris Johnson on Friday declined to rule out a new national lockdown in England after the Christmas holiday period amid a rising number of Covid-19 cases.

Wales and Northern Ireland have already announced a six-week lockdown post-Christmas.

“We’re hoping very much that we will be able to avoid anything like that,” Johnson told reporters in Manchester.

“But the reality is that the rates of infection have increased very much in the last few weeks.”

The UK’s four nations — England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland — have been managing the coronavirus response at a regional level, thanks to the devolved nature of UK politics

All have agreed to slightly lift restrictions on the days around Christmas Day, a time of year when families and friends meet up at home.

Medics and scientific experts have warned that relaxing the rules could cause unnecessary deaths and overload the public health system.

This was the underpinning behind Northern Ireland’s decision to enforce a six-week lockdown immediately after Christmas

According to official figures Friday, the UK’s infection rate was between R1.1-1.2, which means a person with Covid-19 infects 1.1 people on average. The government had set its sights on keeping the rate below R1.

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