Speculation began to swirl on Saturday morning that a new national lockdown could be announced shortly after epidemiologist John Edmunds, a member of the government’s science advisory group, said cases were “significantly above” the reasonable worst-case scenario developed by modelers earlier this month. .
The government had previously introduced a tiered system to be implemented locally depending on the number of infections. But scientists say it was not enough.
More than 46,200 people have lost their lives to the virus in the UK – the highest death toll in Europe – and the country has recorded more than 20,000 new infections daily in the past five days. It is expected to surpass the one million infections threshold over the weekend.
Johnson’s speech will come hours after Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the country would be under a one-month partial lockdown from Tuesday.
Under the new measure in Greece, local areas will be classified as surveillance or high risk areas.
In the first case, a curfew will be in place from midnight to 5:00 a.m. CET. Wearing a mask will be compulsory everywhere, indoors and outdoors, higher education must be provided at a distance and gatherings are prohibited.
In the latter, the same measures will apply but all hotel companies, as well as theaters, museums, cinemas and indoor gymnasiums, will also be invited to close their doors to the public.
Mitsotakis stressed that unlike the lockdown put in place in the spring, “we are not talking about a total freeze on daily life, because stores and schools will remain open.
He admitted, however, that “today’s message is what I hoped I wouldn’t have to do.”
“After a long period of stability, cases are increasing exponentially in our country”, he said. “Scientists warn that soon the new wave will test the endurance of our national health service. ”
“We need to act now before our intensive care units (ICUs) fall,” he added.
The country of 10.7 million people has so far recorded 35,510 COVID cases and 615 deaths, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Mitsotakis’ announcement, delayed by a day after a deadly earthquake on Friday in the Aegean Sea, comes days after several other European countries announced tougher measures to slow the second wave of the pandemic.
National lockdowns were once again implemented in France and Belgium, while Germany also opted for a partial lockdown.