More than 20 million people across vast swathes of England will be forced to live under the harshest category of COVID-19 restrictions when a nationwide lockdown ends on December 2. Lawmakers must vote on the restrictions the day before.
But a growing number of lawmakers in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party have expressed opposition to the tiered restriction plan.
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Some claim the areas they represent have low infection rates but the strictest rules, while others claim the new measures will cause unnecessary economic damage to local businesses.
Defending the government’s plans in an article in The Times newspaper, Gove said “tough decisions” were needed to face the crisis.
The virus “does not respect constituency boundaries and the hardships we face now are sadly necessary to protect all of us, no matter where we live,” he wrote.
The level of infection across the country has remained “uncomfortably and threateningly high,” Gove said, noting that the number of hospital beds filled with infected patients was not far from its peak at the start of the year.
He said from the current high base, the National Health Service would be at serious risk if infections started to rise again, and tougher measures were needed to deal with the virus after the current lockdown ended.
“These new levels, along with the wider rollout of mass testing, have the ability to keep our NHS from being overwhelmed until the vaccines arrive,” Gove said.
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