NPR is reporting that the vast majority of Great Britain is under a new set of travel restrictions — amongst other types of restrictions — that all but confines its residents to the British Isles.
Several countries in Europe are either restricting or otherwise outright banning travel to the UK, with London (and most of the south and southeast of England) facing the toughest restrictions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that this new wave of UK lockdowns is known as “Tier 4,” and it’s unclear how long they will be in place. Johnson said that the reason for this lockdown is due to a “new strain” of COVID that is proving to be a threat to the population.
“Given the early evidence we have on this new variant of the virus — the potential risk it poses — it is with a very heavy heart I must tell you we cannot continue with Christmas as planned,” he said. “In England, those living in Tier 4 areas should not mix with anyone outside their own household at Christmas.”
These New UK Restrictions Are An Offshoot Of Earlier Restrictions
This new UK lockdown isn’t actually “new” at all. Rather, it merely adds more restrictions to an already-existing lockdown order that went into effect in November 2020. In a nutshell, no one in the UK is allowed to leave their homes except to conduct essential business — such as going to the grocery store or visiting a doctor’s office.
All non-essential businesses — such as hair salons, gyms, and entertainment venues — have been closed, and residents are strongly advised to stay in their own homes on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
These restrictions are already drawing comparisons to the lockdowns in place in such major metropolitan cities as Los Angeles and New York — with the latter’s governor coming under fire for his seemingly draconian restrictions, especially on restaurants.
But this new UK lockdown has another, more troublesome, reason behind it: there’s a new strain of COVID that is currently infecting the population, and without a proper approach to containing the mutated virus, there’s cause for concern that the “second wave” of the pandemic will make the first wave look like a walk in the park.
A New Strain Of COVID?
The reasoning for the current UK lockdown — that will, most likely, extend to other countries, including out own — is that there’s a new strain of COVID that’s proving more contagious than the previous one.
“Crisis meetings were scheduled in London and Brussels as officials grappled with how to respond to the variant, which experts estimate could be 70 percent more transmissible than others in circulation,” reports NBC News.
“Calum Semple, a professor who sits on the U.K. government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, or SAGE, told Sky News he suspects this new strain, or one like it, will become the dominant variation around the world as it “out-competes all the other strains” in circulation.”
Put simply, a virus’s nature is to mutate. If a vaccine kills or otherwise neutralizes it, it will come back in a different and stronger form, and that’s what’s happening with this new strain of COVID. And if this new strain is, indeed, more dangerous than the previous strain, the new restrictions will become a way of life for the foreseeable future.
In other words, the UK lockdown is only proof that the current COVID-19 restrictions are here to stay. And, if anything, they’re going to get a lot worse before they get better.