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People's Daily Online

UK PM to set out "further steps" to curb rising COVID infections: spokesman

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:26, January 05, 2021

LONDON, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make a televised address Monday evening to set out "further steps" to fight the spread of COVID-19, according to a Downing Street spokesman.

"The spread of the new variant of COVID-19 has led to rapidly escalating case numbers across the country," said the spokesman.

"The prime minister is clear that further steps must now be taken to arrest this rise and to protect the NHS and save lives. He will set those out this evening," he said.

The prime minister is expected to speak at 2000 GMT on Monday amid calls for a third national lockdown in England.

The leader of the main opposition Labour Party Keir Starmer on Sunday called for national restrictions within 24 hours.

Starmer said coronavirus was "clearly out of control" and the further restrictions should not be delayed.

The House of Commons, lower house of parliament, will be recalled from its current recess to sit on Wednesday to debate further coronavirus restrictions.

Earlier on Monday, Johnson said there is "no question we will have to take tougher measures", pledging that the British government would "do everything we can to keep the virus under control".

There are "tough, tough" weeks ahead in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the prime minister said during a visit to a vaccination center as Britain on Monday started the national rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Also on Monday, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that Scotland would enter a new lockdown from midnight on Monday, as well as a shutdown of schools until Feb. 1.

London and many other parts of England have already been under the highest Tier Four restrictions, which require residents in the areas to stay at home, with limited exemptions.

Under the Tier Four rules, people are also urged to work from home when they can, and should not enter or leave those areas. People should also not mix with anyone outside their own household, apart from support bubbles.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.

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