Jan 5, 2021
Last night, UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the UK is going into lockdown once again until mid-February. The PM believes that the weeks to come will be the “hardest yet” due to surging cases across the country.
“It is clear that we need to do more to bring this new variant under control,” the PM said during his televised address to the nation. “That means the government is once again instructing you to stay at home.”
The country has already started offering the vaccine to top four priority groups, including people over the age of 70, frontline workers, and the clinically vulnerable. The Prime Minister believes that this is “the last phase of the struggle” against COVID-19.
UK’s new lockdown rules include:
- All schools and colleges to close as of Tuesday.
- People can only leave their homes for specific reasons, similar to the first lockdown, such as food shopping, medical needs, and exercise.
- University students should not return to campus and will study online.
- Restaurants will only offer delivery.
- Outdoor sports venues to close.
The announcement of the lockdown came together with a financial support package. This caused stocks to jump on Tuesday – the FTSE 100 gained 0.2%, while general retailers and energy stocks gained over 2%. The support package is worth 4.6 billion GBP and will be offered to the retail, hospitality, and leisure industries.
An equity sales trader from Forte Securities commented the following, “Markets have developed the idea that after lockdowns comes a financial pump which the government has delivered providing a boost to risk assets,” said Keith Temperton, equity sales trader at Forte Securities.
The lockdown announcement caused rage and confusion amongst UK citizens who were previously told schools would open in January. “This is beyond chaos. How can learning go online tomorrow when teachers were told to spend the last two weeks planning for reopening?” commented Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy.