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British Health Secretary blasts fleeing Londoners

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British Health Secretary blasts fleeing Londoners

British Health Secretary blasts fleeing Londoners

News Desk

Following Britain’s announcement of the new tighter restrictions on Saturday evening, the Netherlands and Belgium moved to ban air and train travels from Britain after finding the first case of a new, more infectious strain of coronavirus that is spreading in the island country.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Sunday criticized people who escaped London before the new Tier Four lockdown came into force in the day as “totally irresponsible”, the London-based Evening Standard newspaper reported.

The health secretary made the remarks after millions of people in London and the southeast were forced to tear up their Christmas plans due to the new tighter coronavirus restrictions.

“I think those scenes were totally irresponsible,” Hancock said while speaking to the BBC. “We have all got a responsibility.”

“We in government of course have a responsibility, but so does every single person,” he said.

“The plea that I have is that people will play their part, because it is only by acting — all of us — that we can get this under control,” he added.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday effectively canceled Christmas for more than 16 million people in London, south-eastern and eastern England as the region went into a new two-week lockdown from Sunday.

The prime minister told a virtual press conference at Downing Street on Saturday that the previous plan to allow up to three households to meet during five days around Christmas will have to be scrapped.

“We cannot continue with Christmas as planned,” Johnson said.

People should not travel into a Tier Four area, though support bubbles remain unaffected as do the exemptions for separated parents and their children.

The prime minister said people should “lift a glass to those who aren’t there”, knowing that celebrating Christmas apart this year meant there would be “a better chance that they’ll be there next year”.

An estimated 16.4 million people living in the new Tier Four areas, which include London and much of the surrounding region, will be ordered to stay at home for a fortnight starting on Sunday morning, the Financial Times newspaper reported.

They will be barred from socializing with more than one person even outdoors, meaning no Christmas gatherings of entire families, while shops, leisure facilities, gyms and hairdressers will be closed.

Following Britain’s announcement of the new tighter restrictions on Saturday evening, the Netherlands and Belgium moved to ban air and train travels from Britain after finding the first case of a new, more infectious strain of coronavirus that is spreading in the island country.

England was previously under a three-tier system. London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire had just moved into Tier Three on Wednesday while some other areas in east and southeast of England entered Tier Three from Saturday following a rapid rise in infections in the area.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.

Xinhua

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