Boris Johnson announces Tier 4 lockdown in the UK amid a new virus mutation

Boris Johnson Covid-19 Presser

One of the strangest things about living through this pandemic year is realizing that all of the art about outbreaks and pandemics – the books, TV shows and movies – were always a lie. Those books and movies always presume that people will understand the dire circumstances and work together for the greater good. LOL, can you imagine? Instead, we’ve spent this year fighting about g–damn masks and Donald Trump – the “leader of the free world” – hosted dozens of super-spreader events IN the damn White House (not to mention out of the WH). I’ve also been really discouraged by the right-wing media in nearly every country, especially the US and UK. Right-wing media outlets have actively downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic and disseminated misinformation and propaganda. And here we are, with a crushing winter spike in the northern hemisphere, especially across Europe and America. In Britain, scientists have determined that the virus has mutated to a hyper-contagious form as well. So, no surprise, Boris Johnson has had to heighten the British lockdown at the last minute, all while conservative media outlets were screaming at him for ruining Christmas.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed a tighter lockdown on London and most of England’s southeast region over concern of a fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus. Johnson, 56, announced the new restrictions during a press conference on Saturday after the government got evidence of a variant first detected several weeks ago in southeast England that is as much as 70 percent more transmissible than previous versions, according to NBC News and the New York Times.

The new restrictions, known as “Tier 4,” will be put into place beginning on Sunday, just days before Christmas.

“Tier 4″ involves a two-week closure of nonessential shops, gyms, cinemas, hairdressers and bowling alleys, while people will be restricted to meeting one other person from another household in an outdoor public space, NBC News reported.

“As Prime Minister, it is my duty to take the difficult decisions, to do what is right to protect the people of this country,” Johnson wrote on Twitter Saturday. “Given the early evidence we have on this new variant of the virus, and the potential risk it poses, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you we cannot continue with Christmas as planned. We are sacrificing our chance to see loved ones this Christmas, so we have a better chance of protecting their lives so we can see them at future Christmases.”

Professor Chris Whitty, the U.K.’s chief medical officer, said on Saturday that the U.K. has informed the World Health Organization (WHO) about the new strain. According to NBC News, Whitty said that scientists were “continuing to analyze the available data to improve our understanding” of the virus. He also said that current data does not suggest the new strain causes a higher mortality rate or affects the vaccines and treatments.

[From People]

Not only is BoJo shutting almost everything down, but now continental Europe is shutting down travel to and from the UK. And all of this is happening amid Brexit too. Such a mess. To be fair, many European countries seem to be shutting down their borders in an effort to contain their own winter outbreaks, but it’s particularly stark in the UK, especially since everything seems so late and half-assed. I mean, it was just a few weeks ago that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were traveling on the Royal Choo-Choo Tour across Scotland, Wales and England to personally “thank” people. That tour looks even more ridiculous now, doesn’t it?

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet Cardiff University Students

The Royal Family thank Key Workers at Windsor Castle

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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58 Responses to “Boris Johnson announces Tier 4 lockdown in the UK amid a new virus mutation”

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  1. ThatsNotOkay says:

    I’m mean. the virus doesn’t take holidays off. Why would the UK think it would for them? Was it supposed to be a Christmas miracle? Or cease-fire? I swear, sometimes I think idiots shouldn’t be allowed to hold higher offices.

    • Elizabeth Regina says:

      Boris made sure that the lockdown started after the biggest shopping weekend of the year. What’s a virus or two between friends, eh? Same way he got his two favourite royals, the trainbridges, (with their consent of course) to do the most tone deaf Pandemic Express tour of all time. I despair for the UK.

      • Pilot says:

        Well to be fair to him, lockdown started on Sunday, so half of the weekend was taken away. He could have announced sooner, but unfortunately I think he was desperately trying to ‘save Christmas’ as he was getting harassed about it by his fellow tories and right wing press.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      The Christmas holiday bubble was nothing more than a stunt to distract from his disastrous Brexit negotiations that will end in a no deal.

      • TQ says:

        @Digital Unicorn This! 100% agree. A five day Christmas extravaganza across three households? Please. Was just a bid to placate. Was always ridiculous. Bojo’s handling of this has been absolute madness.

    • Lorelei says:

      I don’t understand how Christmas being “ruined” seems to be the primary concern for some of these people. Yes, it sucks. I’m sad I won’t be able to see my aunts, uncles and cousins. I’m sad that it will be so boring for my child. Some of my relatives are elderly and who knows how many years they have left. It’s horrible.

      But on the other hand, we’re talking about a DEADLY VIRUS so who on earth is worrying about holidays so much right now? Do they not understand that if they could sacrifice this one year, they might be able to save all future Christmases with their families? Some people are so dumb that it’s painful.

  2. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    This is pretty frightening: shades of 1918. And since the vaccination schedule is in such an appalling state, we simply don’t know when we’ll get done.
    I so wanted 2021 to be better.

    • Mac says:

      It’s extremely scary. Up until now, epidemiologists have been saying the virus won’t mutate into a more contagious form. Given the lack of a national strategy, if the new mutation isn’t in the US, it will be soon. I hope covididiouts realize that rationing healthcare means only those with the best chance of making it will get care.

      • Lorelei says:

        Considering the fact that airlines have been allowed to continue business as usual, I’m sure it has already spread to the US (and everywhere else) but we just don’t know it yet.

        That is one of my biggest questions about the way this pandemic has been handled. All flights should have been grounded immediately with exceptions made for “essential” travel, for example, members of the armed forces or medical professionals or whatever. Carefully monitored, not an entire plane full of passengers.

        Last week a man DIED mid-flight on a plane from Orlando; he and his family had gone to Disney World. The plane was full of other people who just got off the plane and went on with their business after being exposed in an enclosed space with that man coughing all over before he died. It’s absolutely fcking INSANE imo. I am baffled as to why airlines weren’t one of the first things forced to shut down. It’s not like our government isn’t going to give them some enormous bailout anyway (while the rest of us get a measly $600). 🙄

  3. My3cents says:

    The Royal Covid Express.
    Yeah this is scary, just when things got a little better with vaccines starting to be administered.

  4. Lizzie says:

    Everyone in UK I am so sorry this had to happen the weekend before Christmas. Although I’m not in a lockdown situation my Christmas will only include my husband, our daughter and grandson. Daughter and grandson are just finishing up 10 quarantine since a school mate’s family tested positive.

  5. Dana Dayen says:

    No cases in my state thanks to our “radical leftist” premier “Chairman Dan” 👍😷👍

  6. Kelly says:

    The press isn’t so much angry that he cancelled Christmas, so much as the sneaky way he went about it. He was told over a week ago that it would be necessary and in response he was blisteringly rude and contemptuous. Had he acted then, at least businesses and people could have prepared. Instead we were pulled up short at nine o’clock on a Saturday night after Parliament was adjourned and it has made a painful situation incalculably worse.

    • Elizabeth Regina says:

      He deliberately wanted people to go out shopping the weekend before Christmas as historically, that’s always been the biggest shopping weekend. He rules by leaving things till the last minute, taking advantage of the fear and chaos generated, as at that point, we have no choice but to do what he says.

      • Thirtynine says:

        That’s exactly right. Deliberately delaying issues is one of his trademark strategies. He puts things off until crisis point is reached, and then rushes in with a solution that has to be implemented immediately, on account of his own crisis. Then everyone capitulates in the national interest (see Labor probably voting for any Brexit deal, however bad, despite how damaging Brexit is to the country, simply because the ramifications of no deal are so dire) and there is no time for scrutiny or amendments. Johnson was openly mocking Starmer last week when he expressed concern about Christmas plans, and now the switch. The picture of the crowded station with people trying to flee Tier 4 before Christmas is frightening. I really feel for you over there. Johnson has no conscience and no shame.

    • Cee says:

      Just like my Government. Our useless, idiotic president announced a nationwide lockdown al 9 pm on March 19th that would go into effect at MIDNIGHT, which caused thousands of people left stranded away from home unable to return for 5 MONTHS! No one could leave their houses, public transport was shut down and cars could not be driven anywhere. All while we had less than 10 cases of COVID (all from people who had travelled to Europe) And no, our lockdown, the longest in the world, did not prevent any deaths… we have the highest death toll per capita in the continent.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Yep – he is supposed to get parliament’s approval for new measures and he broke his own rules. He is out as PM next year, once we crash out of the EU with no deal his party will turn on him – they only backed him to make him the scapegoat for their dream of a no deal Brexit.

  7. Ann says:

    There should be no international travel at all. Hell, there should be absolutely no public transportation of any kind until this is controlled. Of course that would mean our tax dollars would have to be given back to us so we can all afford to stay home but but but… it’s Christmas! People suck. Right-wing nutters the globe over suck the worst.

  8. Cee says:

    This is why I’m so mad at people booking holidays either at home or abroad.
    STAY PUT. This isn’t over yet – it won’t be until enough people are vaccinated and we can achieve herd immunity. And even then, as this mutation has shown, we won’t be out of the woods for some time.

    I really don’t understand why we can’t simply accept the fact that this year’s Christmas, and possibly next year’s too, will have to be different.

  9. SophieP says:

    To say that I am completely annoyed at this point is an understatement! This government is the essence of incompetence! The mutation was first noticed in September, but they were sitting on their behinds for that long and didn’t let the public now until last Saturday! They are the worst, the people that support them are the lowest of the low and you know what? With Brexit coming and them not even wanting to talk about an extension, the future is looking bleaker and bleaker! I really hate Cummings, Boorish Johnson and the rest of their clan!

    • Lorelei says:

      I am 100% against the death penalty and am horrified that the US still does it in some states. It’s absolutely barbaric.

      However, thinking about how many people will die or become ill for the rest of their lives due to his actions makes me think we should bring back public execution by firing squad just one more time, for Boris. Jesus Christ

  10. Watson says:

    Big hugs to all the UK celebitchies. I think we could all see this coming but it’s still very depressing.

    Although I don’t live in the UK, We are keeping things small with no other households so that means it’s my first Christmas without my parents. No travel, no huge family gathering. Emotionally sad, but we are doing our part to keep the Rona at bay. Stay strong guys!! We are all in this together!!

  11. Nic919 says:

    Boris set this up for failure with the stupid four day Christmas break from the virus nonsense. It is an island, with densely populated areas and covid cases that are per capita almost as bad as the US. The fact that the entire territory isn’t under the highest lockdown is insane. The crowds at the train station wouldn’t happen if other areas had the same restrictions.

    And once again the entire panto show with a gathering of hundreds of people a few days ago is so absolutely insane. The kids didn’t wear masks and you can be sure that this new variant was present in that massive crowd. Outside of red states in the US, no other sane country has had gatherings indoors of that size and most of those other countries don’t have the crap covid rates the UK has.

    So everyone who posted here with their “guidelines” and pathetic defence of anti science egomaniacs are now locked in their own country.

    FYI Canada isn’t going to let you in right now either.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      I know – I was gobsmacked at the footage on social media of the morons flocking to leave the city before midnight. NO ONE observed social distancing and the trains were so packed people were standing.

      Science can’t find a cure for stupidity fast enough.

  12. Katie says:

    *washes down a huge vitamin D pill with a chug of water* this is fine, we are going to be fine

  13. Mich says:

    Johnson knew about this mutation in late September. He. Knew. Instead of sounding the alarm and acting to contain it, he insisted schools and businesses open and relaxed restrictions around Christmas. He also allowed it to spread to other countries. Now his reprehensible actions are blowing up in his face. Will he finally do the responsible thing and ask for a Brexit extension? Of course not. Because his leadership isn’t about the UK, it is about him.

    Would the EU give an extension if asked? I have no idea. The UK has become so utterly untrustworthy.

  14. Sofia says:

    Another thing is, earlier during the week or something, the labour leader told him to tighten restrictions yet BoJo called that inhumane.

    I agree that restrictions should have never been lifted in the first place. But the way him and the government went about this, is horrible

    • ME says:

      How is it “inhumane” to tell people not to celebrate Christmas with people outside of your household? Christmas is not the most important thing in the world. Ridiculous ! Health and safety should come above any and all holidays.

  15. Michelle says:

    This new strain was identified on 20th September.

    Bojo doesn’t want to be the ‘bad guy’ that cancels Christmas – which is why they’ve used deliberately vague language like “should not travel” instead of “can not travel” til the 30th December. Meaning it’s up to OTHER countries to ban flights from the UK.

    Apparently stranding people basically on Christmas eve is better than giving them notice to change plans, for restaurants to cancel food orders, etc. etc.
    Meaning I am stuck here*, because my flight to London is from technically another part of the UK, and Aer Lingus are refusing to refund me the £350 ticket price (but generously waiving the fee change, but I’d need to pay the fare difference so only another £250 added on).
    *NB I flew to Ireland a little while ago before any of this, and got a test as soon as I got here, negative.

    Oh and just cramming commuters onto trains out of London last minute to get out of the city? Amazing idea.

    Don’t forget we’re refusing to ask for an extension to Brexit because we’re SO PROUD and the EU will CRUMBLE AT OUR DEMANDS. We just need to be bullish enough to cut off our nose and shoot ourselves in the foot all at once.

    The UK is an embarrassment on all fronts.

    • Mich says:

      The complete lack of historical memory of what the UK economy was like before it joined the EU is such a dystopian spectacle.

      • Michelle says:

        The UK seems to think it’s some kind of word-dominating superpower still, which it isn’t.
        It’s not even like they only do this with politics, the way they still despise Germany and paint themselves as the Hero The World Needs after WW2 (see any news report that involves Angela Merkel), or their ridiculous self-hype over winning the World Cup in 1966(!!!!) and that they’ve been ‘robbed’ every year since. It’s truly pathetic and terrifying, all at once.

    • I pet goat 2 says:

      @Michelle didn’t Irish airlines say they’d refund flights(incl air lingus) if they go to se England? Is the problem you’re going to Scotland or something first?

      • Michelle says:

        Because I’m not in the Republic of Ireland, I’m in Northern Ireland which is technically part of the UK, flying to another part of the UK (London, which is Tier 4) they won’t.
        Also they’re only agreeing to refund people for the time that Ireland has put a ban on flights, which is just for the next 2 days. It’s so frustrating the loopholes their half-assed approach creates!

      • I pet goat 2 says:

        Right, well you said Ireland which is why I was asking. Ireland usually means republic of, which is why I assumed you were traveling via a UK Country such as Scotland. (And I was asking in the first place cause of a similar personal situation)
        Either way, I’m really sorry about your situation.

      • Michelle says:

        @I pet goat 2 I’m sorry that wasn’t meant to sound aggy – I was just trying to clarify, I understand you were being helpful! It’s easy to forget when you’re used to saying Ireland so I never remember to quantify which for other people. Thanks for your words. Hope you’re able to have a lovely and safe Christmas.

      • I pet goat 2 says:

        No problem at all, Michelle, and the same to you-and good health to top it off!

  16. SarahCS says:

    I read a fascinating opinion piece on his personality and style of leadership and it actually made me more afraid (and I was seriously concerned already). He had no concept of detail, delegation, strong teamwork, planning, etc. Nothing. It’s big picture bluster and he just does not care. We’re doomed.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      I live in London and remember his time as Mayor – he was a disaster then and it was well known he was not only inept but also a massive bully.

      He is our Trump.

  17. Maya Memsaab says:

    Yeah, this sucks NGL. I haven’t seen my family back home in India for 1.5 years now. I do feel extremely lucky

  18. Maya Memsaab says:

    Yeah this sucks NGL. Also sucks because I haven’t been able to see my family back home in India for almost 1.5 years now :/ I DO feel lucky (relatively speaking) to be in Scotland and for having a competent adult in-charge in Nicola Sturgeon, unlike this overgrown Etonian baby man.

  19. Sunday says:

    Brexit and trump are the same crime brought about by Cambridge Analytica and their cabal of disaster capitalist nihilists. The response has been so awful in such seemingly common sense ways that you do start to wonder if this is the desired result.

    But I’m also angry at the people who look at the completely inept safety regulations set by the government and then say WELL BORIS SAID I COULD DO IT SO IT’S FINE. Like the woman who shared that video of the crush of people trying to get on the tube in London – of course it’s the station’s fault for selling tickets to full capacity instead of a much reduced capacity for social distancing, and of course it’s BJ’s fault for the absolute mess of a Tier 4 rollout, but at some point we have to take personal responsibility and say right, the government are either so completely incompetent that their guidance is useless, or they are actively trying to thin our population. Either way, I have a working brain and therefore if I see hundreds of people breathing all over each other I’m going to turn tail and figure something else out instead of continuing off the cliff with the rest of the lemmings.

    “But I have to go home for Christmas with mum and dad” – well done you, you had to spend Christmas together and now some of you will die and in the process you’ve spread the infection across the whole country. Call me crazy but I don’t want my Christmas celebrations to have a body count.

  20. Coco says:

    This isn’t even a case of Nero fiddling while Rome burns. This is Nero announcing, “Fire is an ILLUSION! Join me for a jam session!” And every Roman with a musical instrument ran outside to join him, swearing up and down the Seven Hills that it was actually unseasonably cool that day.

  21. ME says:

    That mutated version isn’t just in the U.K. It’s pretty much everywhere now. I live in a very small town in Canada, and our local doctors say it’s here as well. It’s much easier to catch…you don’t need more than a few minutes near an infected person to get it. That old rule of “15 minutes of exposure” is no more. Anyone that is having parties or social gatherings right now (or has been during this entire pandemic) you are playing with your health and the lives of others. Please be responsible. Missing ONE Christmas is not that big of a deal.

    • Nic919 says:

      Are you in Ontario? I have been wondering if this has been the reason for the boost in numbers here.

      I think we need to mask outdoors at this point unless there is no one else around. I suspect this variant can get to you if you pass by someone on the sidewalk.

      • ME says:

        Yes, Ontario. Yeah I’m not even walking to our community mailbox to get the mail. We have joggers huffing and puffing, etc. that zoom by. No thanks. I do curbside pick up and won’t even roll my window down. I just talk very loudly when they ask me my name lol. Sorry but this virus has become way too easy to catch and the numbers are proving that.

  22. Lizzie says:

    Yeah, well my president says we are rounding the curve and it will disappear. The showed zero leadership throughout the pandemic. Glad to call him the big loser.

  23. whitecat says:

    To be fair to the brits, they aren’t the only one who messed up the lockdown. Germany where I live has also left things till the last minute and closed all the shops down a week before christmas. They are not discouraging people from travelling for christmas tho, and the covid19 infection rates + deaths have been as high as ever. :/ Ironically this hard lockdown still has offices open, which is maddening and everyone I know is travelling cross-country. I’m staying put though – there is no need to travel during this time.

  24. Flffgrrrlr says:

    Borders being closed and freight not getting in is a worry. I hope we don’t go back to panic buyers emptying the shelves. The news last night was getting a bit… I don’t know… hyping up that we could run out of food. I wish they would be really careful about the tone because it feels like it could drive certain behaviour. Although I suppose we’re all going to be sitting at home this week, and so maybe that makes it less likely. I really hope this is under control soon. We’ve got used to a certain level of risk – but apparently the regular precautions (mask, distance etc) may not always be enough. I feel for people working in public facing roles and that have to take crowded public transport.

    • heygingersnaps says:

      I think it’s already happening (panic buying/stock piling) or maybe it’s just people scrambling to get some food as the new restrictions have put a spanner in the plans. I went to our nearby retail park hoping to get a few bits from m&s food hall and the queue was so long that I just gave up as my son was already tired. I’m hoping that it won’t be the case tomorrow but I’m not holding my breath.
      The government should have had a better handle on it but boris johnson is incompetent and this pandemic exposes weak leaders.

      • Flffgrrrlr says:

        Hope you get everything you want/need for this week. What a difficult year. Solidarity to everyone.

  25. Case says:

    This lockdown was clearly mishandled, but it alarms me that, at least in my state in the US, there’s no plan for another lockdown. We desperately need to get a handle on this shit and there is NO PLAN to shut things down where I am. Not even indoor dining. Wtf.

  26. heygingersnaps says:

    I’m so annoyed at all of this. If boris johnson and his grifter and sycophant ilk did not dangle that stupid “let 3 households mix for christmas” carrot, people would not have planned for that.
    I mean my family and I decided not to mix with the grandparents as that’s the sensible thing to do, my son goes to nursery/school and my partner works at a secondary school which have had several outbreaks already and we want to lessen their risk of catching the virus.

    However other people have planned to visit and stay with other family members, grandparents/families have done a big food shop, others have sent the presents to their parents in anticipation of celebrating Christmas with them only to find out that they can’t do that anymore and so are left scrambling to prepare for an alternative which have made for longer queues in the shop.

    We were talking to one of our neighbours who lost their husband a few months ago and she was looking forward to visiting her daughter and spending Christmas with them unbeknownst to us boris johnson was announcing that that can’t happen anymore. I feel so bad for her.

    • Talia says:

      If she’s a single adult living on her own, she can still legally have Christmas with a support bubble. Of course, whether it is actually safe is another matter.

      • heygingersnaps says:

        Her daughter lives in another county. She was going to drive down and spend a few days with them, that’s not allowed now.

  27. Implicit says:

    Hold on that geezer is only 56?!

  28. Wolfiee88 says:

    28 Days Later…