Lockdown in England to be extended, more stores must close
Lockdown measures are being extended in England due to the surging rates of coronavirus infection. And it means that more than three quarters of the country will be in Tier 4, with almost the rest of it in Tier 3. Only the tiny Scilly Isles remain relatively untouched and in Tier 1.
The result is that even more non-essential retail stores will have to close with almost all non-essential retail across England shut down. With similar restrictions in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, it means that UK retail is facing a nightmare scenario similar to that it had to deal with during the spring lockdown.
It's been estimated that 78% of England's population is now in Tier 4 with 22% in Tier 3.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that he realises the new rules will "place a significant burden on people, and especially on businesses affected", but they were "absolutely necessary”.
The rising infection rates have raised fears that hospitals would be unable to cope and have also led the British government to delay schools returning in January.
But there’s light at the end of the tunnel as the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine was approved for emergency use in the UK on Wednesday. The government is now focused on giving as many first-dose vaccinations as possible before prioritising second doses, so it's hoped that vaccination can be quicker and more widespread than previously expected.
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