Britain’s Johnson Asks Lawmakers to Back a Tougher Lockdown

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AP

(VOA) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is asking lawmakers to support new, tiered restrictions to keep the nation’s hospitals from becoming overwhelmed before a vaccine for the coronavirus can be approved and distributed.

The new measures would put 99% of the country under the two highest restriction levels when the current rules end Tuesday. The new restrictions would last about a month.

An increasing number of members of Johnson’s own Conservative Party are opposed. And on Saturday, London police broke up anti-lockdown, anti-vaccine protests, arresting more than 150 people in the process.

The government hopes that a vaccine, the first doses of which could be in British hospitals by December 7, and mass testing could end the need for restrictions. Britain has suffered the worst COVID-19 outbreak in Europe, with more than 57,000 virus-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Parliament is to vote on Johnson’s new restrictions Tuesday.

South Korea has been one of the world’s success stories in combating the coronavirus, but a recent surge in cases has forced the country to ban year-end parties, as well as singing and wind instrument music lessons.  South Korea is also closing saunas, steam rooms and some cafes.

In the U.S., President-elect Joe Biden added three members to his COVID-19 advisory board.

Qualifications

Biden added Jane Hopkins, Jill Jim and David Michaels to “strengthen the board’s work and help ensure that our COVID-19 planning will address inequities in health outcomes and the workforce,” he said.

Hopkins is a registered nurse specializing in mental health and also serves on Washington state’s COVID-19 task force.

Jim is a member of the Navajo Nation and the executive director of its Department of Health. She has focused on preventing chronic diseases and addressing health care and health disparities among American Indians/Alaska Natives.

Michaels is an epidemiologist and professor of environmental and occupational health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University.

Beginning Monday, California’s Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous, will be under a three-week, stay-at-home order.

The county had said previously that it would issue the restrictive order when new COVID-19 cases reached an average of 4,500 per day over a five-day period.

On Friday, the five-day average was 4,751.

The order prohibits gatherings, public or private, of people who do not live in the same household.

Stores deemed essential will be allowed to remain open, operating at 50% capacity.  Other retail stores will remain open but will be able to operate at just 20% capacity during the holiday shopping season.

There are more than 62 million global coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins.  The U.S. has more than 13 million COVID-19 infections — more cases than any other country, followed by India with more than 9 million cases and Brazil with 6 million.

Almost 1.5 million people around the world have died from the virus.  The U.S. again tops the list with more that 266,000 deaths, followed by Brazil with more than 172,000 deaths and India with nearly 137,000, according to Hopkins.