‘I am NOT locking down’ Defiant Britons stand against more curbs as new Covid strain soars

Boris Johnson ‘can’t rule out’ another lockdown

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Mr Johnson, who decided against imposing another lockdown at the height of the Omicron wave, on Friday said he was not ready “to take any options off the table” when asked whether renewed coronavirus rules could be put in place if the new Omicron subvariant proves dangerous and the NHS struggles to cope.

Covid hospitalisations in the UK are at their highest level since January. However, average reported deaths remain lower than during the winter.

To the prospect of limitations to day-to-day life, one Express.co.uk read under username Johnboy999 said: “I am not locking down.”

The 74-year-old, who claims they have heart disease, wrote: “Been out gardening every day since l tested positive.

“Felt like a VERY mild cold.”

Their comment came after the detection of the XE variant in the UK sparked concern stricter measures might be needed again.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson says ‘lockdown option must stay on table’

XE is a so-called “recombinant” – meaning it contains a mixture of the previously highly-infectious Omicron BA.1 strain, which emerged in late 2021, and the more recent BA.2 variant, currently the country’s dominant strain.

A report released last week by the World Health Organization (WHO) read: “Early-day estimates indicate a community growth rate advantage of 10 percent as compared to BA.2, however this finding requires further confirmation.

“XE belongs to the Omicron variant until significant differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity, may be reported.”

As of Wednesday, April 6, the XE strain had been detected in 637 patients in England, according to the latest statistics from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSCA), which added there is currently not enough evidence to draw conclusions on its transmissibility or severity.

See the latest Covid vaccine stats below and visit InYourArea for all the Covid vaccine latest

But other variants are still spreading, too. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said 4.9million people across the UK were infected with COVID-19 as of last weekend – a record high since the pandemic began over two years ago.

The Prime Minister, in an interview for GB News with fellow Tory MPs Esther McVey and Philip Davies, said: “We’re now in the phase, and this is the view of all the advisers I talk to, where the virus is losing its potency overall and we’ve got a massively vaccinated UK population.”

He cautiously continued: “I want to avoid any such thing ever happening again and I can’t rule out something.

“I can’t say we wouldn’t be forced to do non-pharmaceutical interventions again of the kind we did.

“I think it would be irresponsible of any leader in any democracy to say that they’re going to rule out something that could save lives. And I believe the things we did saved lives.”

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Another Express.co.uk reader, weighing in on the discussion, said “we are going to have to live with Covid”.

Under username truthspeaks63, they wrote: “All the variants will keep coming forever – all we can do is keep up with the vaccines.”

User BenP-67b, meanwhile, questioned the harm done to people’s mental health by coronavirus restrictions.

They said: “While it is too early for studies to be carried out, I am certain that in the long run — maybe up to twenty years from now — it will be proved beyond all doubt that lockdown caused more damage than it prevented.”

Mr Johnson, when asked whether he agreed some of the Covid restrictions between March 2020 and July 2021 had been “inhuman”, replied he understands “why people feel that”.

He said: “I mean, it was just appalling.”

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