UK’s Johnson under fire as new lockdown looms for England

London – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday defended his belated decision to impose a second coronavirus lockdown as critics claimed he could have saved “thousands” of lives by acting sooner.

After persisting for weeks with local and regional restrictions, announced Johnson at the weekend that a new nationwide lockdown would come into force from Thursday and end on 2 December, bringing England into line with other parts of the UK and Europe.

Scientific models show that, without immediate action, the number of deaths over the winter months could double those in the first wave earlier this year, and hospitals would soon be overwhelmed, Johnson said to the House of Commons.

“I am truly sorry for the anguish these measures will impose, particularly for businesses that had just got back on their feet,” he said.

“But it’s now clear that we must do more together.

Opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer accused Johnson of a “catastrophic failure of leadership”, but Johnson vowed “no apologies” for resisting an earlier national lockdown, given the impact on lives, mental health and livelihoods.

“I believe it was right to try every possible option to get this virus under control at a local level,” said Johnson.

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