The infections rate is going down which means tougher restrictions are working and they might remain tight for longer.
After England was put under a second lockdown, people starting wondering whether they would be able to meet families and friend again soon, especially for Christmas. Reportedly the UK government is currently studying diverse options for the festive period, willing to allow families to meet with other households at least for a few days in Christmas. Meanwhile, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed this second national lockdown is showing ‘promising signs’.
Lockdown is bringing cases down
Matt Hancock announced the UK is starting to see a flattening of the curve, in fact, according to the latest data, the number of covid cases seems to be brought down by the second national lockdown. The Health Secretary confirmed: “Yesterday we saw for the first time the seven day average of cases coming down… I’m calling it a flattening rather than a fall because one swallow doesn’t make a summer. But these are promising signs that the lockdown is working to get the number of cases under control.”
Christmas: loosening or tightening restrictions?
According to Hancock the flattening of the curve shows very ‘promising signs’, although it doesn’t necessarily mean we are out of danger. In fact, as Imperial College London Professor Neil Ferguson confirmed, the infection rates going down is given by the tight restrictions, which means they will need to remain as tight for longer. He said: “We now have clear evidence that Tier 3 measures were working to bring down infection rates in some areas. Tier 2 was also having an impact, but a smaller one… The decision is a political one, but if we don’t want to see infection levels rebound from December 3 my assessment is that measures between Tier 2 and Tier 3 will be necessary for the great majority of locations.”
After Boris Johnson said to be considering loosening the lockdown over few days in Christmas, NHS providers chief executive Chris Hopson warned it would be a wrong decision for the country, as it would force the UK into a third lockdown in January. He confirmed: “There is a risk we swap a few days of celebration for the misery of a third wave a few weeks later… even a few days with very few restrictions would be a problem”, while describing the prospect of full relaxation to enable Christmas shopping as a “nightmare scenario.”
13/19 Xmas is incredibly important to many of us. But, to covid, December 25 is no different to November 25 or January 25. There is a real risk that in our desire to celebrate Christmas, we swap a few days of celebration for the misery of a full third wave a few weeks later.
— Chris Hopson (@ChrisCEOHopson) November 20, 2020
England is now expecting two covid vaccines to be rolled out before the end of the year, while Oxford University also published the results of phase 2 of their vaccine. The covid vaccine produced in partnership with AstraZeneca has in fact officially been deemed safe and effective in elderly people. The Government has ordered 100 million doses of the home-produced vaccine, along with 30 million of the Pfizer vaccine and 5 million of the Moderna vaccine. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland has decided to close all non-essential retail, pubs and restaurants for two weeks starting from November 27. MPs in Scotland also have voted to support tougher restrictions including a travel ban towards worst-hit areas.