In the meanwhile, hope comes from the approvation of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
As previously announced, several areas of UK will enter tougher levels of restrictions since Covid cases and hospitalisations are peaking. As a consequence, millions will enter into tier 4.
Covid, tougher restrictions for some areas of UK
Health Secretary Matt Hancock will announce the interested regions this afternoon, Wednesday, December 30th. The West Midlands, Hartlepool, the East Midlands and some areas of Lancashire are likely to enter tier 4. Indeed, Covid cases have been surging within all those regions.
At the moment, 40% of people in England and Wales are under tier 4 rules. That is to say non-essential shops, beauty salons and hairdresser are closed. Moreover, people can meet outside with their household or one other person maximum.
Stricter measures appear inevitable: on Tuesday, December 29th, UK registered 53,135 new Covid cases and 414 deaths. Also, hospitalisations peaked, since there are now 21,787 Covid patients in NHS hospitals, compared to the 18,974 of April 12th, the first wave peak.
Meanwhile, the country is divided about the schools’ reopening. Boris Johnson is considering a staggered return, while scientists are advicing him to keep institutes closed. “It may be the only alternative to having exponentially growing numbers of hospitalisations”, infectous diseases Prof Neil Ferguson said.
Also Health Secretary Matt Hancock intervened. “Clearly we want to protect education as much as possible. But the new variant does make it easier for this disease to transmit. So we are going to protect education as much as we can“.
In any case, UK may be at the end of the nightmare. MHRA approved indeed the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab this morning, Wednesday, December 30th.