14:54 GMT25 November 2020
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    Although Pfizer has confirmed that the company’s coronavirus vaccine is more than 90% effective, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday "there’s a long way to go" before the jabs will be available to Britons, adding that nationwide lockdown restrictions are needed in order to curb the growth in coronavirus cases.

    As a second lockdown was announced on 31 October, the Office for National Statistics confirmed that the COVID-19 weekly death toll in England and Wales totalled 1,379 in the final week of October, exceeding 1,000 for the first time since June.

    By the end of June, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the UK was 284,799. Over the last four months, this number has increased dramatically, reaching 1,213,363 confirmed cases last week. During the last seven days, the UK has registered 159,502 people testing positive and 2,385 deaths.

    On Monday, the UK prime minister held a press conference to give a lockdown update. Johnson announced that thousands of rapid COVID-19 tests are now being distributed across the UK and that the first vaccine could be rolled out before Christmas. At the same time, the prime minister dropped a hint of doubt over the Pfizer vaccine as a solution to the situation.

    "We cannot rely on the news about a vaccine as a solution” in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson told a virtual press briefing at Downing Street. "It would be a mistake to slacken our resolve in fighting the virus", the prime minister said.

    In the wake of another coronavirus spike, Boris Johnson continues to defend his initiative to introduce a second lockdown, asking people to "stay home, protect the NHS and save lives".  Despite coming under fire from both sides in the Parliament, Johnson insists that such measures are mostly needed.

    "And in this country alas as across much of Europe the virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst-case scenario of our scientific advisers", Johnson said in a speech on 31 October. The prime minister also apologised for the impact of the coronavirus measures on businesses and said he was under no illusions about how difficult the lockdown would be for the people involved.  

    The second lockdown will last from 5 November until 2 December. Under the new regulations, all non-essential shops, leisure, and entertainment venues will be closed. As for the other restrictions, people are not allowed to travel internationally or within the UK.  

    death toll, lockdown, pandemic, coronavirus, COVID-19, UK
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