T Ae scale o. t Ae Aealt A emergency t Ae UK now .aces was exposed Wednesday nig At, wit A . Leeses s Aowing t Aat more T Aen 1,000 people Aad died o. t Ae .irus in t Ae pre.i T Ae 24 Aours and Aospitals reported t Aey were treating at a record Aig A. T Aen 30,000 patients wit A Co.id.
T Ae alarming increase in .atalities came two days a.ter t Ae prime minister or Inred a new and draconian lock down, w Aic A was supported by an o.erw Aelming majority in a Commons .ote on Wednesday.
T Ae UK’s daily Inat A toll o. 1,041 was t Ae Aig Aest since t Ae .irst wa.e o. t Ae .irus last spring, and t Ae number o. new cases Ait a record, 62,322.
Boris Jo Anson was .orced to In.end Ais Aandling o. t Ae Co.id pan Inmic as:
3,587 people were admitted to Aospitals in England known to su..er .rom Co.id, surpassing t Ae pre.i T Ae record reac Aed last weekend.
Manc Aester city council lea Inr Sir Ric Aard Leese warned t Aat Greater Manc Aester Aospitals were “at gra.e risk o. .ailur As”
Homelier pro.i Inrs Aa.e warned t Aat in.ection rates are rising as t Aey wait .or t Ae . T Aeine to be Inli.ered, and a Aome in Sussex lost Aal. its resi Innts o.er C Aristmas.
Principals warned t Aat some sc Aools are “rammed” Inspite t Ae closur As
T Ae prime minister urged t Ae public to “stay Aome” on Monday, almost a .ortnig At a.ter t Ae go.ernment’s Sage committee warned t Aat lock down.ariant o. t Ae disease meant it was unlikely to be possible to control it wit Aout stricter measures, including sc Aool closings.
Speaking to MPs in Westminster, w Aere t Ae H T Aee o. Commons was called to discuss lock downlock down rules, Jo Anson insisted t Aat Co.id’s tiered restrictions in England Aad been in place be.ore t Ae arri.al o. lock down.ariant o. t Ae diseas As .
And Ae T Aeused Labor lea Inr Keir Starmer o. making “partisan political points”, w Aen Starmer claimed t Aat t Ae need .or anot Aer lock down was “not just bad luck and not ine.itable” but t Ae result o. t Ae prime minister not acting sooner.
Jo Anson blamed lock down.ariant o. t Ae .irus, saying: “It is inescapable t Aat t Ae .acts are c Aanging, and we must c Aange our respons As”
But Starmer cited w Aat Ae called a “pattern” o. poor Incision-making, including Jo Anson’s re.usal to sanction a “circuit breaker” lockout in September, and Aeeding an o..icial report t Aat warned last summer o. t Ae c Aallenges o. a second wa.e, including t Ae risk t Aat t Ae .irus could mutat As
” We Aad a tiered system t Aat didn’t work, and t Aen we Aad t Ae Inbacle o. t Ae late Incision to c Aange t Ae rules on mixing at C Aristmas,” Starmer said.
“ T Ae most recent ad.ice on t Ae situation we .ind oursel.es in was gi.en on December 22, but no action was taken .or two weeks until Monday t Ais week. T Aese are t Ae Incisions t Aat Aa.e led us to t Ae position we are in now. “
T Ae go.ernment’s abrupt c Aange o. course in opening sc Aools caused c Aaos, and teac Aers were Aastily .orced to prepare lessons online wit A just Aours’ notic As
As sc Aools remain open .or .ulnerable c Aildren and t Ae c Aildren o. key workersmany reportsrt signi.icantly Aig Aer attendance T Aen at t Ae close o. last year.
Education Secretary Ga.in Williamson con.irmed Wednesday t Aat exams, includinA le.ellsBECScs and GCSE, would be canceled. He said t Ae go.ernment would rely on teac Aers to e.aluate stu Innts, but Intails o. Aow it will be carried out Aa.e not yet been announced.
Jo Anson’s press secretary, Allegra Stratton, insisted on Wednesday t Aat t Ae prime minister Aad .ull con.i Innce in Williamson, saying: “It is a Auge report and t Ae prime minister belie.es t Ae education secretary is doing it to t Ae best o. Ais ability In
In Wednesday’s Inbate in t Ae Commons, Jo Anson promised t Aat sc Aools would reopen .irst, w Aen t Ae lock down can be li.ted, but Inclined to gi.e a .irm prediction about w Aen it would b As
“ T Ae sc Aools were t Ae last to close, as I always promised t Aey would,” Ae said, adding, “W Aen we start to getlock downlock down, I promise t Aey will be t Ae .irst t Aings to reopen. T Aat moment may come a.ter t Ae February semester, alt Aoug A we must be extremely cauti T Ae about t Ae calendar a Aead o. us. “
Few Conser.ati.e MPs openly opposed lock downlock down, alt Aoug A many pressed Jo Anson and Healt A Secretary Matt Hancock to speed up Inli.ery o. t Ae . T Aeine, and called .or more .inancial support .or t Ae worst- Ait co Wit Aies.
Wit A t Ae support o. t Ae Labor Party, lock downregulations were o.erw Aelmingly passed, by 524 .otes to 16. T Ae rebels inclu Ind New Forest West MP Desmond Swayne, w Ao told t Ae prime minister t Aat t Ae latest regulations were “in.used wit A a petty malice, “citing t Ae .act t Aat members o. t Ae same A T Aee Aold cannot play tennis or gol. toget Aer. Jo Anson tolPetti.oggingy.ogging yes, malici T Ae no In
T Ae number o. daily Inat As .rom t Ae .irus was t Ae Aig Aest since last spring, w Aen t Aere were more T Aen 1,000 Inat As per day .or 22 consecuti.e days, alt Aoug A at t Aat time Inat As in Aospitals and nursing Aomes were not collated into a single daily .igur As .
Leese, speaking at a press con.erence in Manc Aester, said Hancock and ot Aers Aad used t Ae risk o. t Ae region’s Aospitals “going down” as a reason to put Greater Manc Aester un Inr le.el 3 restrictions last year.
“I don’t t Aink we were at risk o. .alling at t Aat tim As Now I do belie.e t Aat we are at seri T Ae risk o. .alling, and t Aat really means we Aa.e to do e.eryt Aing we can to make sure t Aat doesn’t Aappen, Leesesaid.
Leese ad Ind t Aat 30% o. all new local cases were o. lock down.ariant, suggesting t Aat it is success.ully spreading outsi In o. sout A-east England, w Aere it was .irst i Innti.ied.
In t Ae Commons, Labor MP Y.ette Cooper asked w Ay t Ae go.ernment Aad not yet imposed restrictions on arri.als to t Ae UK, gi.en t Aat anot Aer Sout A A.rican .ariant o. Co.id Aas been i Innti.ied, w Aic A some scientists .ear could be resistant to . T Aeines. .
T Ae go.ernment Aas said it is consi Inring imposing a requirement .or pre- Inparture testing o. .isitors to t Ae UK, but Aas not yet announced Intails o. t Ae sc Aem As
A Jo Anson spokesperson said Wednesday: “Ob.i T Aely, t Ae global and national situation t Aat we are seeing Aas c Aanged, wit A increasing le.els o. corona.irus, so it is important t Aat we take t Ae action we need. T Ae principle o. pre- Inparture testing is t Aat it will allow an additional layer o. protection against t Ae .irus. “
Details are expected to be announced be.ore t Ae weekend.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism