Labour leader: Sir Keir Starmer.
London and the south-east, are now under Tier 4. This is the latest and severest, of the tiers in the Tier system, devised by the government to control the outbreak (if, control is the right word'). A new strain that has appeared, in Kent of COVID, is now running rampant across the above areas.
The south has seen a successive rise in infections and deaths apparently caused by this new strain. it would appear, that the virus is evolving into a new strain to replace the old form of itself. The virus will continue to evolve and change as is natural. There are no plans, for the vaccine to be tweaked in response to the latest development of the COVID virus. For now, as far as scientists are concerned, the present vaccine being rolled out across the nation will still be effective in combatting the virus.
Boris announced on Saturday, that the 5 days relinquishing of the COVID rules, between 23-27 December would be scrapped. There will now be only Christmas Day allowed and only for those in the lower tiers.
Apparently, according to the Prime Minister, the five days are being scrapped because of the massive infection rate of the new strain. The danger from the new strain is not that it has not become more lethal (apparently!) but that it spreads quicker than the old form. However, Sir Keir Starmer has said scrapping the 5 days because of the new lethal strain, simply doesn't stack up. Originally Boris had accused Sir Keir of wanting to "cancel Christmas" when Sir Keir said the 5 days relaxation of the COVID rules was ridiculous. Sir Keir, hit back by saying that all Boris does is ruffle his hair and bat away criticism by "flippant comments".
Sir Keir in a live broadcast today, said that after today's COBRA meeting, the Prime Minister should be straight with the people. Being honest and saying the new strain is out of control. Sir Keir has urged Boris, to hold daily briefings and update the people. Sir Keir was basically saying the British people deserve better leadership and Boris, should step up to the plate, as it were.
Those in Tier 4 then, residents cannot mix with other households - period. Sir Keir highlighted that those who had made travel plans during the Christmas break would be heartbroken over the scrapping of the 5 days relaxing. However, at the same time, he pledged to work with the UK government and stressed people should conform to all the Tiers (whether that be, 1,2,3, or 4).
Meanwhile, countries in Europe and around the world have a ban on travel from the UK, because of the new strain. Sir Keir continued that the UK could not go on like this, with the government's hit and miss approach to the pandemic. It seems that at every level the government has been late in acting when it comes to lockdowns. This according to some polls, has eroded support for the government. How things have changed when Boris had a landslide general election victory because he promised to take the UK out of the EU, swiftly. This has indeed, happened and will be formal on 31 December. It would appear also, the EU has missed the chance to ratify any agreement between the EU and the UK. Returning to the pandemic, it happened in the UK in March and scuppered Boris' triumphal election victory. There are those that say, Boris knew about the coming virus in December and yet, did nothing. So, again this government it would appear, has been caught on the hop over this new strain.
Obviously, no one would like the job that Boris Johnson has, facing the pandemic and Brexit. There must surely be times when Boris wishes he was never Prime Minister. However, Boris, for now, is the Prime Minister and so, therefore, he is the man at the helm dealing with this crisis (or not?), as the case may be.
Certainly, looking back over this year the government has shown levels of incompetency you could not make up. Late in going into the major lockdown in March and too early coming out, which enabled the 'R' rate to rise again. Then, we had the Tier system forced on us and then we had another major lockdown. Having come out of that lockdown we are all in Tiers 1,2,3 and now 4. The government's absolute fiasco over PPE, the massive death rate because of COVID, the disaster that is and remains the track and trace system, etc. The Dominic Cummings fiasco, companies brought in to deal with the different aspects of COVID were mates of the Tories. The whole handling of the COVID affair has been an utter shambles. The furlough scheme yes, has saved many jobs, that is probably the one good thing that has come out of this, but, even that is not perfect. The UK entered facing the pandemic together, however, each devolved government went its own way in how each administration dealt with the virus.
However, the COVID Virus and the reaction to it is not just the government's fault. While, the majority of the people have enacted and followed the guidelines to keep us all safe, sadly, many have not. We have had pro-anti BLM marches, illegal parties and raves, illegal beach gatherings, illegal football fan gatherings, etc, which all helped to spread the virus.
Finally, as the UK leaves the EU (within days, with or without a trade deal) and the onslaught of COVID carries on, the UK is one hell of a predicament.
Nick Bishop (author) on December 22, 2020:
Our country, what with COVID and Brexit, is going to hell, in a habdcart fast. The vaccine is being rolled out based on the vulnerable, first.
MG Singh emge from Singapore on December 21, 2020:
When I look at the UK from afar I get the feeling the Government has been a bit slow in reacting. My relations and there so many in London are getting worried. I spoke to them and they were unsure of the future. The UK is a small country and the cleanup should be faster, otherwise god forbid. Incidentally relying only on the vaccine is not going to help.