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BRITONS are holding onto hope that this year might be a covid-free Christmas – or at least a lockdown free Christmas.
It comes as various European countries are entering lockdowns as we approach the festive season.
Will the UK go into another lockdown?
In the week commencing Monday 22 November 2021, Boris Johnson said that he saw no need to move the UK’s winter “Plan B” – which includes people being made to wear masks indoors and advised to work from home.
“We don’t know how this wave will wash up on our shores but history shows we cannot be complacent,” he said.
Cases are rising in countries such as Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark and there are concerns these infections could make their way to the UK.
However, there are some details that play in the UK's favour for not going into lockdown.
The UK’s reopening in July brought a level of immunity among younger age groups.
The UK was able to reopen earlier than other parts of Europe, partly due to timing and partly thanks to advice from Government scientists.
The more infectious Alpha and Delta variants hit the country sooner, meaning it reached the position of unlocking before others.
Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance also felt it was better to have a rebound in infection during the summer.
Which areas of the UK have the most cases?
On Monday 22 November, the UK recorded its lowest daily Covid death toll in three weeks as a further 45 fatalities were recorded – but cases were still rising.
Torridge in southwest England is currently seeing the highest number of cases in the UK.
In the week 12 -18 November, it had 1017 cases per 100,000 people.
Which countries have gone into another lockdown?
The Netherlands became the first country in western Europe to impose a partial lockdown from Saturday 20 November, which resulted in violent demonstrations against the Government.
The restrictions, lasting at least three weeks, include the closure of bars, restaurants and essential shops from 8pm, with non-essential retail and services such as hairdressers to close at 6pm.
In Austria, the two million unvaccinated citizens were banned from leaving their homes unless for food or work on Monday 22 November.
Austrian chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced the draconian new rules which came into force in the country's worst hit areas.
Austria's so-called Epidemic Act means people can be handed warning notices, ordered to take Covid tests, and be given fines of £1,900.
Similar measures, as well as a ban for use of public transport or entering restaurants and cafes, are expected in Germany within days, with one state already denying entry into non-essential shops for the unjabbed.
On Monday 22 November, Angela Merkel warned Germany's Covid nightmare is "worse than anything we have seen".
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