The United Kingdom have announced that the country will ease restrictions ‘once and for all’, as they mark the first lockdown anniversary today.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a statement released on Tuesday 23rd March 2021, on his official social media handle, marking the lockdown anniversary, offered his “sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones” and praised the “great spirit” displayed ahead of the nation pausing in remembrance at midday.
With the official death toll passing 126,172 deaths, Mr Johnson warned a third wave of Covid-19 cases being seen in Europe could “wash up on our shores as well”.
“It’s because of every person in this country that lives have been saved, our NHS was protected, and we have started on our cautious road to easing restrictions once and for all,” he said in a statement.
Matt Hancock reflects on ‘hardest year in a generation’
Reflecting on the last year, Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast: “I think the last year has been probably the hardest year in a generation. This crisis has touched everybody. My first thoughts go to those who’ve lost loved ones. The impact of that is permanent, I know that from my family.
“And, obviously, it’s vital that we are constantly learning and constantly looking at the evidence, listening to scientific advisers, listening to all of the advice and looking at what has happened and how we can improve the response throughout that.”
He said he was at home when he heard of the first death, adding: “I remember sitting down and you know it really hit me.”
He added: “That was the first death and there have been many more since then, and it’s touched many, many families in this terrible way, and it’s just made me more determined to get us out of this.
“You can see now that the number of people going to hospital, thankfully, is really falling sharply and the number of people who are dying … these can just be statistics but they really mean something. It’s very good news because fewer families are having to go through what so many families have been through.”
Merkel says coronavirus variant discovered in UK is ‘a new pandemic’
Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, has said the coronavirus variant discovered in the UK is “a new pandemic.”
She said: “We basically have a new pandemic. The mutation from Great Britain has taken over…
“Essentially we have a new virus, obviously of the same type but with completely different characteristics. Significantly more deadly, significantly more infectious (and) infectious for longer.”
Germany has extended its lockdown measures by another month and imposed several new restrictions, including largely shutting down public life over Easter, in an effort to drive down the rate of coronavirus infections.