Wed. Apr 14th, 2021

By DANICA KIRKA The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday plans to outline tougher sanctions to slow down the spread of COVID-19, even as the UK shot of it developed by Oxford University and drug maker AstraZeneca Started its first vaccination program to begin use. .

Johnson said that tough measures were imminent, announcing that he would address the nation at 8 pm (3 pm EST). The UK Parliament will be recalled from recess to sit on Wednesday. The Prime Minister’s Office did not release any details of the new measures ahead of Johnson’s remarks.

The UK has seen an increase in coronovirus cases in recent weeks as public health officials struggle to control the spread of a new version of COVID-19 that is more contagious than previous variants. Authorities have recorded more than 50,000 new infections a day since passing that milestone for the first time on 29 December. On Monday, they reported 407 virus-related deaths, confirming the worst deaths of 75,431 people in Europe.

“If you look at the numbers, there’s no question that we’ll have to take drastic steps and we’ll announce those in due time,” Johnson said, adding that some who received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at Chase Farm Hospital in North London Visiting people. .

Before Johnson made his announcement, Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon put his country on lockout by the end of January.

Starting on Tuesday, people in Scotland will be required to stay home except for essential reasons, to help ease the pressure on hospitals and intensive care units, Sturgeon said. Under the new rules, people can go out for exercise, but only one person can meet another home. Schools will remain closed until February, excluding children of key workers and children in social care.

“I am more concerned about the situation we are facing now than at any time since March last year,” Sturgeon said in Edinburgh.

Scotland, which governs its own health policy under the UK’s system of developed government, has often imposed stricter coronavirus restrictions than people in England.

The day Britain’s health authorities began putting the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine with weapons around the country, it was expected that life would be back to normal by the spring.

The UK has secured the right to 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is cheaper and easier to use than some of its rivals. In particular, it does not require the super-cold storage required for the Pfizer vaccine.

The new vaccine will be administered in a small number of hospitals for the first few days so officers can watch for any adverse reactions. But the NHS said hundreds of new vaccination sites – including local physicians’ offices – will open later this week, joining more than 700 vaccination sites already in operation.

A “massive ramp-up operation” is now underway in the vaccination program, Johnson said.

But aspects of Britain’s vaccination plan have sparked controversy.

Both vaccines require two shots, and Pfizer recommended that a second dose be given within 21 days of the first dose. But the UK Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization said that authorities should give the vaccine dose first, rather than taking individual shots to get the two doses to others. This has increased the time between doses from 21 days to 12 weeks.

The committee stated that two doses are necessary to completely protect against COVID-19, both vaccines providing a high degree of protection after the first dose. Prioritizing the first dose “will bring maximum benefit from the vaccination program in the short term”, it said.

Stephen Evans, a professor of pharmacopaidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said policymakers are being forced to balance the potential risks of this change against the benefits in the midst of a deadly epidemic.

“The UK is in a crisis situation, with a new version spreading rapidly, and as has become apparent to everyone during 2020, costs are delayed,” Evans said. “When the dose and resources of people’s immunization are limited, vaccination of more people with potentially lower efficacy is better than a fuller efficacy in only half.”

In England alone, on Sunday, 24,957 people were in hospitals with COVID-19. Although figures for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have not been updated in recent times, it exceeded the UK’s broad peak during the first wave of the epidemic.

The government closed non-essential shops in London and parts of south-east England before Christmas to try to include the new version, but health officials say strict measures are now needed.

Johnson said there were “tough, tough” weeks to get in the fight against COVID-19. A total ban of more school closures, curfews and domestic mixing may be on the agenda.

While London schools are already closed due to high infection rates in the capital, students in many parts of the country were returning to individual classes on Monday after the Christmas holidays. However, with unions representing teachers shifting to distance education, schools across England have been called off for at least two weeks.

But with vaccination, there is hope. Brian Pinker, an 82-year-old dialysis patient, received his first Oxford-AstraZeneca shot at 7:30 am at Oxford University Hospital.

A statement released by the National Health Service said, “The nurses, doctors and staff have made everyone fantastic today, and I am now really looking forward to celebrating my 48th wedding anniversary with my wife, Shirley.” “

Associated Press writers Jill Lawless and Sylvia Hui contributed

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