Rare optimism as no one dies of Covid-19 in London and the “stay at home” order is lifted
No Covid-19 death was reported across London on Monday for the first time in over half a year. This is according to statistics from Public Health England (PHE). However, the rest of the country only reported 28 deaths, a stark deviation from the 1,325 record death toll recorded at the height of the third wave.
On Monday, the nationwide “stay at home” order was lifted as Covid-19 restrictions eased. Households and groups of two up to 6 people are now allowed to congregate outdoors. The third wave prompted a full nationwide lockdown since January 4, after a new more transmissible variant of the virus was discovered in Southeast England. This was a rare moment of good news after a year’s long streak of death, doom, and gloom that has dominated both local and national news. Despite the rising number of cases, Boris Johnson urged for caution as the number of cases remains on the rise in other parts of Europe.
Outdoor sports facilities across the country such as swimming pools, tennis courts, and golf courses are to be reopened again. Organized outdoor sports have also been approved without limits on the number of participants. Weddings too can now be held provided the participants are limited to 6 people.
The Metropolitan police also urged members of the public to exercise caution as lockdowns start to ease. They promised to maintain vigilance on those who would break the law. Part of the vigilance includes handing out fines at illegal gatherings and remaining visible in open spaces.
The last time a zero death toll figure was achieved in London was back in September, right before the second wave began. Overall the UK has suffered the worst brut of the outbreak in Europe, suffering the highest number of deaths based on the John Hopkin University tally, 126,000 plus in fatalities. Over 14,000 people have lost their lives in the London area, only trailing the South East and North West regions. London has continuously witnessed a drop in the infection rates with last week recording only 14 deaths, way less than 24 in the previous week.
The rest of Europe
Across Europe, France is struggling to lower the spread of the infection, as hospitals are on the brink of being overwhelmed. This new development comes on the backdrop of the French President Emmanuel Macron defended his decision not to lock down the country for a second time. He instead opted for targeted restrictions across 19 départements that recorded arise in Covid-19 numbers. Paris, Nice, and Lyon were part of those departments. Portugal has tightened its border restrictions with other EU member nations. Any travel from EU countries where the incidence rate exceeds 150 cases per 100,000 are permitted on essential trips. Countries that exceed 500 per 100,000 must observe a 14-day mandatory quarantine.