Coronavirus UK: Fury from Northerners over fears Londoners are spreading new mutant strain

Furious Northerners blasted ‘selfish’ Londoners who fled the capital last night to avoid spending Christmas in a brutal new Tier 4 lockdown, amid fears they will spread the ‘mutant’ strain of coronavirus across the country.

Twitter users today slammed large crowds queueing on a packed platform at London’s St Pancras Station to board the last train to Leeds, calling them ‘irresponsible’, ‘b******s’ and ‘plague rats’. 

Incensed social-media users accused them of trying to ruin Christmas for the rest of England by ‘packing a suitcase full of Covid’ and taking the ‘highly infectious’ strain up north. 

In Scotland, social-media users called on Nicola Sturgeon to ‘keep these London disease spreaders OUT of Scotland’ and ‘lockdown the stations’ as they raged against Londoners ‘going to drag their horrible virus up here’.  

Meanwhile London mayor Sadiq Khan called the introduction of Tier 4 restrictions ‘devastating’ and said the 11th-hour announcement is a ‘bitter blow for families who were looking forward to spending time with their families’. 

‘Our criticism and concern as Londoners, people looking forward to having a decent Christmas after an awful year, is as recently as two days ago the Government was saying that we would still have the rules relaxed,’ he added.

Travel into and out of the new Tier 4 zone, which includes London and large swathes of the South East of England, has been banned in a desperate bid to contain a mutant strain of the coronavirus. 

International travel for the 16.4 million people who live in Tier 4 is also prohibited unless it is for work purposes, while the PM urged families in the rest of the country to ‘carefully consider’ whether they needed to go abroad.

The PM was accused of ‘inconsistency and confusion’ after the extraordinary last-minute U-turn to put a third of England, including London and swathes of the home counties, into a brutal new Tier 4.

The bracket means non-essential shops being forced to shut, and travel restrictions including a ‘stay at home’ order for Christmas Day itself – even though Mr Johnson insisted just days ago that it would be ‘inhuman’ to axe five-day festive ‘bubbles’. The rest of England will not escape unscathed, with up to three households now only allowed to mix on Christmas Day rather than between December 23 and 27. 

Wales has also announced it is going into a full lockdown from midnight and will follow suit by slashing bubbles to a single day. Nicola Sturgeon said at her own press conference that a ban on cross-border travel is being upgraded, and the law will be changed to cut bubbles to one day. 

In other coronavirus news: 

  • Boris Johnson faced a backlash to his move to cancel Christmas from the public and the Tory backbench;
  • MP Steve Baker said the UK’s response to Covid-19 should be ‘rational and balanced, not driven by panic’;  
  • Officers ‘won’t be knocking on people’s doors on Christmas Day’, a Met Police federation chief declared;
  • Chris Whitty said vaccines should still be effective against the new ‘mutant’ strain of Covid-19; 
  • SAGE expert John Edmunds called the ‘mutant’ coronavirus strain the ‘worst moment of the pandemic’; 
  • Donald Trump slammed the Tier 4 shutdown as he insisted: ‘The cure cannot be worse than the problem’. 

Furious Northerners blasted Londoners who fled the capital last night to avoid spending Christmas in a brutal new Tier 4 lockdown, amid fears they will spread the mutant strain of coronavirus across the country. Twitter users slammed large crowds queueing on a packed platform at London’s St Pancras Station to board the last train to Leeds, calling them ‘selfish b******s’ and accusing them of ‘ruining’ Christmas for everyone else

People wait on the concourse at Paddington Station in London on Saturday as people scramble to get out of London before Tier 4 rules come into power at midnight

People wait on the concourse at Paddington Station in London on Saturday as people scramble to get out of London before Tier 4 rules come into power at midnight

People wait on the concourse at Paddington Station in London on Saturday as people scramble to get out of London before Tier 4 rules come into power at midnight

People go through barriers to catch trains at Paddington Station in London. The introduction of the new tier seeks to curb a new more infectious strain of the virus, Boris Johnson explained during a press briefing on Saturday

People go through barriers to catch trains at Paddington Station in London. The introduction of the new tier seeks to curb a new more infectious strain of the virus, Boris Johnson explained during a press briefing on Saturday

People go through barriers to catch trains at Paddington Station in London. The introduction of the new tier seeks to curb a new more infectious strain of the virus, Boris Johnson explained during a press briefing on Saturday

Boris Johnson last night created a new Tier 4 to tackle a new 'highly contagious' coronavirus variant

Boris Johnson last night created a new Tier 4 to tackle a new 'highly contagious' coronavirus variant

Boris Johnson last night created a new Tier 4 to tackle a new ‘highly contagious’ coronavirus variant  

Fury at Boris’s last-minute Christmas U-turn as Britons say they’ll IGNORE the new rules and complain it’s ‘just in time for everyone to have spent money on presents, food and booze’ 

Britons have been left furious by Boris Johnson‘s cancellation of Christmas for millions in London and the South East with just a few days’ notice.  

The PM held an emergency press conference in which he shifted swathes of the home counties, including London, up to a new ‘Tier 4’. 

That bracket includes closing non-essential shops and travel restrictions including ‘stay at home’ order for Christmas Day itself, even though Mr Johnson insisted just days ago that five-day festive ‘bubbles’ would go ahead.

The extraordinary U-turn has caused outrage among families that have already made plans, booked travel and bought food for reunions, with many taking to social media to vent their fury.

One devastated user said: 'I'm sorry but my family have spent money on food for my family who are all coming in the next few days. I see my family twice a year and I am absolutely devastated like I cannot explain how upsetting and disheartening this is.'

One devastated user said: 'I'm sorry but my family have spent money on food for my family who are all coming in the next few days. I see my family twice a year and I am absolutely devastated like I cannot explain how upsetting and disheartening this is.'

One devastated user said: ‘I’m sorry but my family have spent money on food for my family who are all coming in the next few days. I see my family twice a year and I am absolutely devastated like I cannot explain how upsetting and disheartening this is.’

A defiant tweeter said: 'Already made plans and spent money to visit family, not gonna stay home alone for Christmas on 4 days notice.'

A defiant tweeter said: 'Already made plans and spent money to visit family, not gonna stay home alone for Christmas on 4 days notice.'

A defiant tweeter said: ‘Already made plans and spent money to visit family, not gonna stay home alone for Christmas on 4 days notice.’

Another added: 'If you lock us all over over Christmas - meaning families who have spent hundreds of pounds preparing to see loved ones - then you have proven what an utterly incompetent leader you and your cabinet are. Shame on you.'

Another added: 'If you lock us all over over Christmas - meaning families who have spent hundreds of pounds preparing to see loved ones - then you have proven what an utterly incompetent leader you and your cabinet are. Shame on you.'

Another added: ‘If you lock us all over over Christmas – meaning families who have spent hundreds of pounds preparing to see loved ones – then you have proven what an utterly incompetent leader you and your cabinet are. Shame on you.’

A fourth said: 'Strangely just in time for everyone to have spent on presents for their bubbles, food and booze orders.'

A fourth said: 'Strangely just in time for everyone to have spent on presents for their bubbles, food and booze orders.'

A fourth said: ‘Strangely just in time for everyone to have spent on presents for their bubbles, food and booze orders.’

One devastated user said: ‘I’m sorry but my family have spent money on food for my family who are all coming in the next few days. I see my family twice a year and I am absolutely devastated like I cannot explain how upsetting and disheartening this is.’ 

A defiant tweeter said: ‘Already made plans and spent money to visit family, not gonna stay home alone for Christmas on 4 days notice.’

Another added: ‘If you lock us all over over Christmas – meaning families who have spent hundreds of pounds preparing to see loved ones – then you have proven what an utterly incompetent leader you and your cabinet are. Shame on you.’

A fourth said: ‘Strangely just in time for everyone to have spent on presents for their bubbles, food and booze orders.’

Another said: ‘After job loss, emergency international move, illness, breakdown, and everything else, I just desperately needed something to look forward to. Honeymoon fitted the bill, but was cancelled three times. Christmas was the next best thing. I spent weeks working on menus, precautions.’ 

Others tried to see the funny side by sharing memes, including one depicting the Prime Minister’s latest U-turn and another comparing him going round in circles to Will Ferrell’s character in the Christmas film, Elf. 

<!—->Advertisement

Within 90 minutes of the PM’s bombshell announcement, Londoners were jumping into cars and taxis and even hiring vehicles to escape the city before Tier 4 came into force, the AA told the Mail on Sunday.

Its president Edmund King called the fleeing a ‘mini exodus’, adding: ‘It is almost like a wall is coming down around London and the South East and some people are scrambling to get away to save their Christmas before midnight.’ 

Northerners warned against Londoners fleeing the capital after videos and photos appeared on social media which showed long queues in St Pancras Station. 

Branding it the ‘last train out of Saigon’ – a reference to the evacuation of US personnel during the Vietnam War – journalist Harriet Clugston wrote: ‘Every person on this train including myself has made what is probably a very silly and irresponsible decision to travel albeit within the law.

‘But that’s what people were always going to do to be together at Christmas.’  

An announcement warned passengers that it would not be possible to maintain social distancing on the train. 

Poppy Wood, 25, rushed to King’s Cross station to board a 7.30pm train before the restrictions were imposed. She said: ‘What a disaster. I’m so angry at the Government – the whole thing has been shockingly handled.’

Miss Wood, who was travelling to her parents’ home in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, with her brother and her boyfriend, said the station was ‘surprisingly socially distanced but very sombre’. ‘Everyone is just looking up at the screens quite longingly,’ she added.

‘It’s not panicked at all – it’s very calm. I think the threat has become very real and people are actually quite nervous, which hasn’t been the case for a while in London.

‘I was meant to be doing all my Christmas shopping today but with everything going on I hadn’t got anything done. I have just ransacked every shop in the station to get both my boyfriend and my brother a Christmas present.’

Social media sites were flooded with people voicing their anger at having their Christmas travel arrangements torpedoed.

‘I’m beyond furious,’ said Londoner Michael Wood, 25, who has had to cancel Christmas with his parents in Norfolk.

‘The Government should have provided more forward guidance, rather than cancelling Christmas with four days to go.

‘It’s easy to say we’ll get through it but not when you’re on your own in a shoebox apartment.’

Rose Wilford, who also lives on her own in London, has been isolating for the last seven days and was planning on travelling back to her parents in Worcestershire for Christmas.

‘Now that the tier 4 has come into place I’m not able to travel and will have to spend Christmas on my own,’ she said.

‘This year has been particularly hard on my mental health and to find out that I have to spend Christmas on my own is devastating.’

Meanwhile, thousands of families were yesterday forced to scrap plans to spend Christmas abroad, while passengers already at Heathrow faced the dilemma of whether they should get on board flights. The airport told passengers it was waiting for government guidance regarding flights and advised them to contact their airline.

Meanwhile, the restrictions raise the prospect of checkpoints being used to prevent families entering or leaving the new tier 4 zone.

Police forces across Britain were last night waiting for the Government to publish regulations on how they are to enforce the new rules. 

Martin Hewitt, National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman, said: ‘We urge everyone to follow the rules in their area, and as throughout the pandemic, we are confident that the majority of people will continue to do their best to adapt and do the right thing.’

Meanwhile, there were questions last night about how the new rules would be enforced on train services travelling between tier 4 areas and the rest of the country.

Yesterday’s announcement was another devastating blow for airlines, airports and holiday firms whose businesses have been ravaged by the pandemic.

There are also fears that countries could close their borders to British travellers in a desperate bid to prevent the mutant strain from spreading around the world. 

Aviation expert Alex Macheras said that restrictions imposed by one country could precipitate a domino effect, resulting in the UK becoming cut off from the world in the same way that the area around Wuhan in China was at the beginning of the pandemic.

People under Tier 4 have been banned from international travel, with Heathrow Airport tweeting that it was awaiting further guidance from the UK Government. People under Tier 3 restrictions are also being discouraged from travelling without a reasonable excuse. 

‘If you are in Tier 4, you should not be travelling abroad unless it is permitted. In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting,’ updated Government advice said on gov.uk.

Airlines warned that it would be down to Border Force to determine whether or not passengers’ international travel is deemed ‘essential’. Airports experienced their busiest days on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.    

Last night a spokesman for Heathrow Airport said: ‘While we support steps to contain this new strain, the decision to restrict international travel again will further damage the national economy and jeopardise jobs.’  

A clearly uncomfortable Mr Johnson told the nation last night that he had ‘no alternative’ but to act after being presented will compelling evidence only yesterday about the devastating spread of the new strain. 

Although it does not appear to be any more deadly, it is believed to be much more contagious, accounting for an incredible 60 per cent of new cases in London over the past week. Mr Johnson said it could increase the crucial R rate by 0.4 and be 70 per cent more transmissible than previous versions.

‘We must act now,’ he said, appealing for the public to ‘stay local’ and ‘raise a glass for people who are not there’. ‘We cannot continue with Christmas as planned… 

‘I know how much emotion people invest in this time of year and how important it is for grandparents to see their grandchildren and families to be together.

‘So I know how disappointing this will be. But I have said throughout this pandemic that we must and will be guided by the science.’ 

He added: ‘As your Prime Minister, I sincerely believe there is no alternative open to me. Without action, the evidence suggests infections would soar, hospitals would become overwhelmed and many thousands more would lose their lives.’

Chief science officer Patrick Vallance said there was no sign so far that the mutation would be able to nullify vaccines – reassuring news for around 350,000 people Mr Johnson revealed have now received their first dose. 

‘This virus spreads more easily and therefore more measures are needed to keep it under control,’ he said.

He added: ‘Assume you might be infectious.’ 

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said that danger was that people moving around the country would ‘seed’ the variant. ‘This is a bad moment,’ he said.   

Pictured: A grab from the Trainline app showing train tickets either sold out or limited for Sunday

Pictured: A grab from the Trainline app showing train tickets either sold out or limited for Sunday

Pictured: A grab from the Trainline app showing train tickets either sold out or limited for Sunday

Pictured: A grab from the Trainline app showing train tickets either sold out or limited for Sunday

Pictured: Grabs from the Trainline app showing train tickets leaving London either sold out or limited for Sunday

By 7pm on Saturday evening, there were no trains available online from several London stations including Paddington, Kings Cross and Euston (pictured)

By 7pm on Saturday evening, there were no trains available online from several London stations including Paddington, Kings Cross and Euston (pictured)

By 7pm on Saturday evening, there were no trains available online from several London stations including Paddington, Kings Cross and Euston (pictured)

Traffic seen on London's A40 ahead of new coronavirus 'Tier 4' restrictions being imposed from midnight

Traffic seen on London's A40 ahead of new coronavirus 'Tier 4' restrictions being imposed from midnight

Traffic seen on London’s A40 ahead of new coronavirus ‘Tier 4’ restrictions being imposed from midnight

Cars on the M4 motorway leaving London, following the announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, that London will move into Tier 4 Covid-19 restrictions from midnight on Saturday

Cars on the M4 motorway leaving London, following the announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, that London will move into Tier 4 Covid-19 restrictions from midnight on Saturday

Cars on the M4 motorway leaving London, following the announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, that London will move into Tier 4 Covid-19 restrictions from midnight on Saturday

What are the new Tier 4 rules? 

The Tier 4 rules will be essentially the same as the blanket lockdown that England was under in November. 

Non-essential retail must close, as well as leisure facilities, and personal care such as hairdressers. 

However, places of worship can stay open. 

People in other Tiers will be advised not to go into the highest bracket areas, while residents of Tier 4 must not stay overnight in lower infection spots. 

<!—->Advertisement

The new Tier 4 – dubbed the ‘stay at home alert level’ – will be imposed on all existing Tier 3 areas in the South East, covering Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey (excluding Waverley), Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings.

It will also apply in London, Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, Hertfordshire, and Essex – excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring.

The rules will be essentially the same as the blanket lockdown that England was under in November. Non-essential retail must close, as well as leisure facilities, and personal care such as hairdressers. 

However, places of worship can stay open. 

People in other Tiers will be advised not to go into the highest bracket areas, while residents of Tier 4 must not stay overnight in lower infection spots. 

The rules will apply for at least two weeks, with the situation due to be considered at the next review point on December 30. Schools will not be affected immediately as they have broken up for Christmas – but it is not clear what will happen if the Tier 4 restrictions need to be maintained into January. 

No10 has indicated that the measures will come into effect without a vote in Parliament because of the ‘incredibly fast moving’ events, and there are ‘no plans’ to recall MPs.

But the announcement infuriated many Tories who are sceptical about the effectiveness of lockdowns. 

Mark Harper, who leads the Covid Recovery Group of MPs, said the public must be given a ‘roadmap’ to restoring freedoms. 

‘Given the 3 tier system and the initial Christmas household rules were expressly authorised by the House of Commons, these changes must also be put to a vote in the Commons at the earliest opportunity, even if that means a recall of the House,’ he said. 

Former minister Sir Robert Syms added: ‘It is right and proper the Government recall Parliament (to) lay before Parliament the evidence and allow a vote on tier 4.’ 

Labour leader Keir Starmer said people would feel ‘very upset and heartbroken’. ‘The PM was saying three days ago ”have a merry little Christmas”,’ Sir Keir said.  ‘Just when we need leadership we’ve got inconsistency and confusion.’      

Christmas travellers at a busy Heathrow airport as many people have made preparations to leave prior to the Government's announcement on Tier 4 restrictions

Christmas travellers at a busy Heathrow airport as many people have made preparations to leave prior to the Government's announcement on Tier 4 restrictions

Christmas travellers at a busy Heathrow airport as many people have made preparations to leave prior to the Government’s announcement on Tier 4 restrictions

Christmas travellers waiting in line beside a large illuminated Christmas tree at Heathrow airport as many people have made preparations to leave prior to the Government's Tier 4 announcement

Christmas travellers waiting in line beside a large illuminated Christmas tree at Heathrow airport as many people have made preparations to leave prior to the Government's Tier 4 announcement

Christmas travellers waiting in line beside a large illuminated Christmas tree at Heathrow airport as many people have made preparations to leave prior to the Government’s Tier 4 announcement

Christmas travellers at a busy Heathrow airport as many people have made preparations to leave prior to the Government's announcement on Tier 4 restrictions

Christmas travellers at a busy Heathrow airport as many people have made preparations to leave prior to the Government's announcement on Tier 4 restrictions

Christmas travellers at a busy Heathrow airport as many people have made preparations to leave prior to the Government’s announcement on Tier 4 restrictions

Where will be in the new Tier 4 from midnight? 

Kent

Buckinghamshire

Berkshire

Surrey (excluding Waverley)

The boroughs of Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings

All 32 London boroughs and the city of London.

Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough

Hertfordshire

Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring).

<!—->Advertisement

The Cabinet had crisis talks on how to contain the mutant strain, which is so far thought to have been confined largely to the South East. Michael Gove also held talks with the devolved administrations.

As Mr Johnson spoke, it emerged that UK coronavirus cases were up 25 per cent on last Saturday at 27,052.

It means the total number of infections has topped two million.

Another 534 people have died – 14 more than last Saturday and 45 more than yesterday.

Speculation had already been mounting that England will have to follow Wales and Northern Ireland in announcing a draconian crackdown for after Christmas. 

The Welsh government previously broke ranks with the rest of the UK by scaling back Christmas bubbles, in effect from December 23 to 27, from three to two households.

And last night First Minister Mark Drakeford said its Level 4 lockdown will come into effect from midnight, rather than waiting until December 28. 

‘The latest evidence suggests this new strain is present throughout Wales,’ Mr Drakeford said. ‘The situation is incredibly serious. I cannot overstate this.

‘We have therefore reached the difficult decision to bring forward the alert level four restrictions for Wales, in line with the action being taken in London and the South East of England.

‘These new restrictions will come into effect from midnight tonight instead of during the Christmas period.

‘This will mean non-essential retail, close contact services, gyms and leisure centres and hospitality will close at the end of trading today. Stay-at-home restrictions will also come into effect from midnight.’   

Pushed on why he had resisted calls to drop the Christmas bubbles for so long before finally changing course, Mr Johnson admitted that he had been ‘very puzzled’ by the fact that infections kept rising in Kent and some other places during the blanket lockdown.

‘Clearly there was something going on,’ he said. 

But he also pointed out that many other countries were being forced to overhaul their restrictions. ‘I want to stress we are not alone in this fight – many of our European friends and neighbours are being forced to take similar action,’ Mr Johnson said. 

News of the latest crackdown came as countless Britons flocked to the country's high streets (Oxford Street, pictured) and supermarkets yesterday as they stocked up on Christmas essentials

News of the latest crackdown came as countless Britons flocked to the country's high streets (Oxford Street, pictured) and supermarkets yesterday as they stocked up on Christmas essentials

News of the latest crackdown came as countless Britons flocked to the country’s high streets (Oxford Street, pictured) and supermarkets yesterday as they stocked up on Christmas essentials

‘The worst moment of the pandemic’: New ‘Super-Covid’ strain is 70% MORE infectious 

The mutant strain of coronavirus is 70 per cent more infectious and makes up 60 per cent of London’s new cases, it was revealed today.

Speaking at an emergency press conference, Boris Johnson warned the strain – which has caused a spike in cases in the south – could increase the crucial R rate by 0.4.

But England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty earlier stressed there is nothing to suggest that new strain ‘VUI – 202012/01’ is more deadly or resistant to a vaccine.

The variant has caused the PM to dramatically cancel Christmas for millions of people in a shock announcement.

A third of England – including London and swathes of the home counties – will be shifted up to a brutal new ‘Tier 4’ from midnight.

The draconian bracket will see non-essential shops shut and travel restrictions including a ‘stay at home’ order for Christmas Day itself – even though Mr Johnson insisted just days ago that it would be ‘inhuman’ to axe five-day festive ‘bubbles’.

<!—->Advertisement

‘We are working closely with the devolved administrations to protect people in every part of the UK.’

Trying to strike a more optimistic note despite the turmoil, Mr Johnson said: ‘Of course there is now hope – real hope – that we will soon be rid of this virus.

‘That prospect is growing with every day that passes and every vaccine dose administered.’ 

Mr Johnson said that Christmas this year would be a chance to ‘lift a glass to those that aren’t there’ in the hope that increased restrictions would allow families to meet again in the new year.

He said that bubbles for elderly and lonely people would provide ‘consolation’ for cancelled festive plans.

‘I would say to those who are now having a much reduced Christmas, of course we bitterly regret that this is necessary this year,’ he said.

‘I know how much love and care and thought goes into preparations for Christmas.

‘The message is that this is the year to lift a glass to those who aren’t there in the knowledge that it’s precisely because they’re not there to celebrate Christmas with you this year, that we all have a better chance that they’ll be there next year.’

Asked if had been was ‘reckless to promise five days of Christmas against scientific advice’, Mr Johnson said: ‘We’ve always taken account of scientific advice, always tried to follow it and that is what we’re doing today.

‘Because the science is clearly changing and has changed in the sense that our understanding of this new virus, its transmissibility, has been radically shifted just in the last 24 hours.’

Mr Johnson added: ‘We simply can’t ignore that and that’s why we’re taking these extra steps today to protect the country.’

Sir Patrick said: ‘I think one way to think about it is assume you could be infectious.

‘It’s not somebody else’s issue, it’s your own issue, you might be infectious and that’s the way that we have to behave at this moment. Assume you might be infectious.’

Mr Johnson said it ‘can’t be stressed too often’ that a lot of coronavirus transmission was by people who do not have symptoms at the time. 

The Prime Minister added: ‘I don’t think people still now fully get that, in a way that perhaps they need to, it’s absolutely vital I think.

‘I think one in three infections are transmitted asymptomatically still and people really need to realise that.’

Mr Johnson dodged on whether police would stop people travelling home over the festive period or knock on doors on Christmas Day. 

Pictured: People shopping on Oxford Street in central London on the last Saturday shopping day before Christmas. Boris Johnson has cancelled Christmas for millions of people across London and south-east England after scientists said that a new coronavirus variant is spreading more rapidly

Pictured: People shopping on Oxford Street in central London on the last Saturday shopping day before Christmas. Boris Johnson has cancelled Christmas for millions of people across London and south-east England after scientists said that a new coronavirus variant is spreading more rapidly

Pictured: People shopping on Oxford Street in central London on the last Saturday shopping day before Christmas. Boris Johnson has cancelled Christmas for millions of people across London and south-east England after scientists said that a new coronavirus variant is spreading more rapidly

Pictured: Shoppers queue outside a shop in Oxford Street on Saturday night ahead of the introduction of Tier 4, announced by Boris Johnson on Saturday evening in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus

Pictured: Shoppers queue outside a shop in Oxford Street on Saturday night ahead of the introduction of Tier 4, announced by Boris Johnson on Saturday evening in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus

Pictured: Shoppers queue outside a shop in Oxford Street on Saturday night ahead of the introduction of Tier 4, announced by Boris Johnson on Saturday evening in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus

Pictured: Long queues of cars were seen waiting to get to Bluewater shopping centre in Kent ahead of the Tier 4 introduction

Pictured: Long queues of cars were seen waiting to get to Bluewater shopping centre in Kent ahead of the Tier 4 introduction

Pictured: Long queues of cars were seen waiting to get to Bluewater shopping centre in Kent ahead of the Tier 4 introduction

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference on Saturday during which he announced Tier 4 for London and the South East of England, throwing Christmas plans for millions into chaos

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference on Saturday during which he announced Tier 4 for London and the South East of England, throwing Christmas plans for millions into chaos

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference on Saturday during which he announced Tier 4 for London and the South East of England, throwing Christmas plans for millions into chaos

Sturgeon admits she ‘wants to cry’ as she imposes Xmas travel ban 

Nicola Sturgeon admitted the latest Covid setback ‘makes me want to cry’ as she announced a ‘strict travel ban’ over Christmas.

The easing of restrictions of indoor household mixing will only apply on Christmas Day and all of Scotland will be placed into Level 4 restrictions from Boxing Day for at least two week. 

‘In order to reduce the risk of more of the strain being imported into Scotland, we intend to maintain a strict travel ban between Scotland and the rest of the UK,’ she said.

‘Unfortunately, and I am genuinely sorry about this, that ban will remain in place right throughout the festive period.

‘We simply cannot risk more of this new strain entering the country if we can possibly avoid it.

‘That means people from Scotland not visiting other parts of the UK, and vice versa.

‘Cross-border travel for all but the most essential purposes is not permitted.’

She added: ‘It makes me want to cry. I know how unfair it is but this virus is unfair.’ 

<!—->Advertisement

He said that officers had so far done an ‘amazing job’ of ‘light touch’ policing and that the public had been generally compliant.

‘(People) naturally want to do it themselves,’ he said.

‘The bulk of the population do it themselves and get it right and they’ll continue to do so.’

At her own briefing in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon admitted the developments ‘make me want to cry’ as she announced a ‘strict travel ban’ over the festive period – even though she stressed that Scotland has much lower infections currently. 

The easing of restrictions of indoor household mixing will only apply on Christmas Day and all of Scotland will be placed into Level 4 restrictions from Boxing Day for at least two week. 

‘In order to reduce the risk of more of the strain being imported into Scotland, we intend to maintain a strict travel ban between Scotland and the rest of the UK,’ she said.

‘Unfortunately, and I am genuinely sorry about this, that ban will remain in place right throughout the festive period.

‘We simply cannot risk more of this new strain entering the country if we can possibly avoid it.

‘That means people from Scotland not visiting other parts of the UK, and vice versa.

‘Cross-border travel for all but the most essential purposes is not permitted.’

She added: ‘It makes me want to cry. I know how unfair it is but this virus is unfair.’ 

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said Mr Johnson’s move was a ‘bitter blow’ and the public was ‘paying the price’ for ‘irresponsible promises’ that Christmas would be fine.

‘London faces its toughest Christmas since the war and the whole city will need to pull together to see us through this terrible period,’ he said.

‘Implementing restrictions is not enough – it is imperative that the Government vastly increase mass testing as a matter of urgency.

‘Providing greater financial support to businesses and the self-employed, currently woefully insufficient, is crucial.

‘The Government needs to put in place a compensation scheme for all lost income for the festive period, as well as a package of full pay for those who are required to self-isolate.

‘We’re not going to be knocking on people’s doors on Christmas Day’: Police officers say new Tier 4 restrictions ‘don’t make sense’ as thousands vow to IGNORE the rules 

Police ‘won’t be knocking on people’s doors on Christmas Day’ a federation chief for the UK’s largest force declared last night as London was thrown into Tier 4 rules. 

Police forces around the south of England revealed they would be increasing patrols to punish anyone found breaking Number 10’s latest set of restrictions.

At an emergency press conference, Boris Johnson announced a third of England, including London and swathes of the home counties, will be shifted up to the brutal new tier from midnight.   

Mr Marsh told MailOnline the new rules – which close non-essential retail and ban overnight stays in infection spots – meant little, because Mr Johnson has ‘lost the good will of the people’ over the festive period.

He said: ‘It doesn’t make sense. It’s going to be no different now from how it was. 

‘We’re not going to be knocking on people doors on Christmas Day. We have no power of entry.

‘It’s just a shame because I don’t think people are going to take much notice. You’ve lost the goodwill of the public. They’re so frustrated.’ 

<!—->Advertisement

‘Face coverings should be made mandatory in all busy outdoor public places.

‘London and the country are paying the price for the Government’s continued failure to get a handle on the pandemic. This continued chaos and confusion could all have been avoided had the Government not made irresponsible promises to the public and raised expectations about the Christmas period.

‘I urge Londoners to follow the new restrictions very closely, so that we can protect our NHS and prevent more tragic deaths. ‘It would be such a tragedy to lose even more people to this disease when the vaccine is now being rolled out across our city and those lives could be saved.’

NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said trust chiefs had wanted tough restrictions to curb infection rates.

‘These changes were inevitable given how rapid the infection rates have been rising in London, South East and parts of the East of England due to the new variant,’ he said.

‘Trust leaders have consistently called for the restrictions to be as tough as needed to cut infection rates.

‘It is therefore right that the Government has acted quickly to avert significant extra deaths and levels of harm.’ 

British Chambers of Commerce director general Adam Marshall said: ‘Christmas was already cancelled for many businesses, but even more will now suffer as a result of this last-minute decision.

‘While Government must act on public health concerns, it must also address the economic consequences of its actions. Will there be more help for firms being forced to shut their doors – and for those who have paid for stock they now can’t sell? What support will there be for companies whose cash flow projections have once again been thrown into chaos?

‘The introduction of an additional tier without warning or additional help is a huge blow to businesspeople who wanted nothing more than to be able to trade safely through the holiday season and beyond.’

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said that the Government’s ‘stop-start’ approach to regulations was ‘deeply unhelpful’.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: ‘We recognise that the Government has difficult decisions to make and the situation with the pandemic is very fast moving, but this is hugely regrettable news.

‘Retailers have invested hundreds of millions of pounds making stores Covid-secure for customers and staff.

‘The consequences of this decision will be severe.

‘For businesses, the government’s stop-start approach is deeply unhelpful – this decision comes only two weeks after the end of the last national lockdown and right in the middle of peak trading which so many are depending on to power their recovery.

‘Faced with this news – and the prospect of losing £2 billion per week in sales for the third time this year – many businesses will be in serious difficulty and many thousands of jobs could be at risk.’

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson is facing the prospect of a huge revolt from Tory MPs after Parliament was sent into recess on Thursday – and No10 indicated it will not be recalled to approve the new Tier.

Mr Harper, who leads the Covid Recovery Group of lockdown-sceptic Tories, demanded the Commons be brought back for a debate and vote on the changes.

‘This is a very sad day. Lockdowns and increasingly severe tiered restrictions have failed in their goal of slowing the transmission of Covid,’ the former chief whip said.

‘And now the Government is expecting people to sacrifice the chance to share Christmas with family, friends and loved ones, just a few days after promising the opposite.

‘If the Government wants the support of the public and Parliament, it must publish a clear exit strategy from this nightmarish, cycle of damaging lockdowns and restrictions.

‘More immediately, given the three-tier system and the initial Christmas household rules were expressly authorised by the House of Commons, these changes must also be put to a vote in the Commons at the earliest opportunity, even if that means a recall of the House.’

The latest estimates of the R number – the average number of others infected by each person with the disease – from SAGE yesterday was between 1.1 and 1.2 in the UK. 

It is the first time the reproductive number has definitely been above the crucial mark since the first week of the national lockdown last month.

In England, the rate stands even higher at between 1.1 and 1.3, while experts warned it might be as high as 1.4 in the East, and 1.3 in both London and the South East. 

Last week, Britain’s R number – which doesn’t represent Friday’s outbreak – was between 0.9 and 1.

Link hienalouca.com

(Total views: 963 Time, 1 visits per day)

Leave a Reply