Calling the availability of two vaccines and the UK’s withdrawal from the EU from 11 p.m. Thursday – when the Brexit transition period ends – an “incredible moment”, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he remained confident about the country and the future. it enters in 2021.
Johnson issued an optimistic New Years message as UK health officials announced another peak in the number of new daily deaths and Covid-19 cases: 964 and 55,892 on Thursday evening with 23,813 patients in hospitals and 1847 on ventilators.
The government has launched a public information campaign, calling on the population to usher in the New Year at home and not to join any rallies outside. Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, called the situation “grim, depressing and perilous”.
The Big Ben, which has been under repair since 2017, will come to life at midnight to herald the New Year, but there won’t be any of the iconic fireworks around it that would normally be watched by tens of thousands of people along from the Thames and broadcast live to millions of people. worldwide.
‘Covid-19 loves crowds, cancels parties’ was the key message of a public information campaign on Thursday, urging Britons to usher in the New Year at home. Millions more Britons switched to the Tier 4 Covid-19 alert system with the strictest restrictions on Wednesday evening.
Johnson said: “(As) as the sun rises tomorrow in 2021, we are sure of these vaccines. A pioneer in a UK which is also free to do things differently, and if necessary better, than our friends in the EU. Free to enter into trade agreements worldwide ”.
“It’s an incredible moment for this country. We have our freedom in our hands and it’s up to us to make the most of it. Leading both the G7 and COP 26 summit on climate change in Glasgow, and an open, generous, outward-looking, internationalist and free-trade global Britain campaigning for 12 years of education of quality for every girl in the world ”.
He added: “2021 is the year when we can do it, and I believe 2021 is first and foremost, the year when we will end up doing these everyday things that now seem lost in the past. Bathed in a rosy glow of nostalgia, going to the pub, concerts, theaters, restaurants, or just holding hands with our loved ones in the normal way ”.
Johnson, however, insisted the UK was still a long way from this situation and warned that there were “difficult weeks and months to come”.
Meanwhile, the Brexit deal reached with Brussels last week received Royal Assent and became law. Several aspects of daily life are likely to change as the new post-Brexit realities unfold.
This will include higher prices in supermarkets and changes for Britons visiting EU member states. There will be a 90-day limit to their stay in any 180-day period, using queues for non-EU citizens at airports and being asked by immigration officials to show return tickets and funds for their stay.