Covid Christmas 2020 – Lockdown 3

Prime Minister Boris Johnson wanted to give the nation a lockdown-free Christmas.
Instead he was forced into another embarrassing u-turn adding an extra level of Covid restrictions and putting all of London and much of the southeast into Tier 4 through Christmas less than a week before the holiday.
It was the end of his government’s attempts to loosen restrictions through the holidays.

At the beginning of December England left its second national lockdown and went back to a three-tiered approach amid familiar debate about the balance between people’s health and their income.

The government was hoping tough restrictions on most of England in early December would allow some limited loosening over Christmas. But putting most of the country into tier 2, the middle level, created multiple anomalies and was criticised as too simplistic and broad – so much that Johnson had to mount a campaign to persuade a significant minority of his own MPs to approve it in Parliament.

The government’s u-turn came after growing pressure for tighter rules from medical experts – in a rare joint editorial in the British Medical Journal and the Health Service Journal on December 15 and warnings of problems from its own scientific advisors a month earlier, warnings echoed by the Opposition Labour Party.
The Prime Minister claimed he changed his mind because new scientific data showed a new strain of the virus – the Delta variant – was spreading much faster than the previous one.

It was an echo of events only a month earlier when Johnson announced his second national lockdown on the last day of October after weeks of criticism over delays, ineffective measures, questionable consultation, and unfairness.
At the time he said he had no choice and needed to save lives and protect the effectiveness of England’s National Health System. But his action again showed some of the same signs of confused government messaging that beset Johnson’s previous measures.

The Labour opposition party said it would back the measures which it and medical experts had called for albeit weeks earlier.
Mainly right-wing critics including some of Johnson’s own Conservative Members of Parliament questioned the need for any lockdown and business groups warned of further economic damage.

Christmas restrictions
Lockdown 2 ends
Three tiers approach
Persuading MPs
Rare joint editorial – medical journals
SAGE warning
Labour says PM ignoring medical advice
PM announces lockdown 2
Confused government messaging
Labour backing
Labour calls for short lockdown
Autumn 2020 – lockdown 2