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UK the first European country to surpass the 50,000 death-toll

Akansha Agarwal

17 November 2020

Setting foot at a very sore spot, the coronavirus death toll in the UK has now passed the 50,000 mark, highest in Europe and fifth highest in the world after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico. As reported by The Independent, Mr Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, UK, responded soon after the announcement, "Every death is a tragedy and we mourn everybody who's gone and our feelings are with their families and friends as well."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the public after the death-toll announcement. (Source: Getty)

With the second wave of the virus in place, a national lockdown has been imposed until the 2nd of December in England. Johnson, however, does believe that the virus has reached a "different phase" in how we treat it, since now the UK is better equipped. The mass testing program sought to ease virus-tracking for authorities as well as the realistic prospects of a vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech is keeping him optimistic.

As reported by The Independent, Professor Wei Shen Lim, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI's) COVID-19 immunisation chair said, "The committee's interim recommendation is that any vaccine should be given first to care home residents and workers, then by age group, starting with the over-eighties and going down to the over-65s before including younger adults with underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to Covid. Phase one of the vaccination programme would cover everyone over 50 and should by then protect 99% of those at risk of dying from the virus."

A poll by the Daily Mail found that 74% of people in Britain are willing to take the vaccine, however, 4 in 10 opine that the safety of the vaccine can only be assured when senior politicians try it first. As reported by the Hindustan Times, in response to this Johnson's spokesperson said, "Any vaccines which are determined for use will undergo a vigorous series of safety checks, they will be absolutely safe for the public to use. And the prime minister would, therefore, of course, be very happy to take the vaccine himself.”

Johnson urged people to follow all the non-pharmaceutical practices and guidelines like social distancing, cleanliness, stay-at-home etc. since he believes that the news of the vaccine should not "slacken our resolve at a critical moment as there is a long way before we get this thing beat."

In view of the strict lockdown to be observed until the 2nd of December non-essential places such as pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, golf courses, gyms, swimming pools, entertainment venues and stores selling items like books, clothing and sneakers, will remain shut. However, unlike the U.K.'s spring lockdown, schools, universities, construction sites and factories will be open.

(Sources: The Independent, Daily Mail, Hindustan Times)

Edited by: Tanya Jain, Anjali Dinesh

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