UK leader vows to use ‘every second’ to vaccinate vulnerable

LONDON (AP) – United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged that his government would use “every available second” to shield the elderly and the vulnerable from the virus rampaging across Britain as he told Parliament on Wednesday why the country needed to return to a COVID-19 lockdown.

Lawmakers were recalled from their Christmas recess to discuss the measures, which came into force at midnight.

They are expected to approve England’s third national lockdown because there is a wide consensus on the need for tougher restrictions to control soaring new infections.

“When the Office for National Statistics reports that more than two per cent of the population is now infected, and when the number of patients in hospitals in England is now 40 per cent higher than the first peak in April, it is inescapable that the facts are changing, and we must change our response,” Johnson said.

He said “We will use every available second of the lockdown to place this invisible shield around the elderly and the vulnerable” until vaccination provides a “means of escape” from lockdown.

The UK is in a maelstrom of rising COVID-19 infections, hospitalisations and deaths.