LONDON-Before 3pm on Wednesday, British lawmakers voted to approve the Brexit trade agreement with the European Union, marking the symbolic end of a debate that has fallen into the country for more than four years.
A few minutes later, Health Minister Matt Hancock announced in Parliament that the government will place three-quarters of England’s population under the strictest lockdown level, a new form of the country’s coronavirus epidemic. The government also postponed the reopening of secondary schools in January.
This is a day in sharp contrast in the UK on Wednesday. The country has pushed itself into the future after Brexit. Although it is still under the control of the pandemic, the pandemic has recently entered a frightening new phase. This newly licensed British manufacturing is ecstatic. Vaccines, and at the same time vaccinate people with antiviral vaccines.
Earlier Wednesday, the British regulator approved a second vaccine, which was developed in a laboratory at Oxford University and produced by AstraZeneca. Officials said that this provides hope for ending infection with the plague. Mr. Hancock praised it as a model of British scientific achievement, but he warned that it will not make the UK difficult again until large-dose drugs become popular.
Hancock said: “Today is a day full of mixed feelings,” and he underestimated the dizzying events that occurred every hour.
For Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the penultimate day of 2020 summed up a year of continuous turmoil. It started in January when the UK officially withdrew from the European Union-a leader promised to win an overwhelming electoral victory through “Brexit”, which was the moment of victory-but soon fell into a crisis because Mr. Johnson repeatedly reversed his trading attitude and was hospitalized. After contracting the coronavirus.
The decision to postpone the opening of most secondary schools and universities in England by two weeks until January 18 was another reversal, as the government vowed to continue opening schools regardless of other reasons for closure. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said that most elementary schools will open as scheduled on January 4.
Public health experts generally support the government’s actions, although some say that schools should be completely closed or postponed for two weeks to reassess the trajectory of infections that have soared since the emergence of this faster-spreading virus variant last month.
Devi Sridhar, head of the Global Public Health Program at the University of Edinburgh, said: “The numbers are too high now.”
The UK reported 50023 new cases on Wednesday, with 981 deaths, the highest number of deaths since April. In total, the country has recorded 72,548 deaths from the virus, the highest in Europe.
The government estimates that 60% of the new cases are from this variant, which has spread to other European countries and was detected in Colorado this week. The surge in cases has overturned the government’s plan to start a large-scale vaccine rollout to keep schools open.
From Thursday, the new rules will be greatly expanded. England is subject to the highest level of restrictions, namely Tier 4, which closes non-essential businesses, prohibits mixing between families, and informs people that they should generally stay at home. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which set their own rules, have similar restrictions.
Johnson balanced his enthusiasm for the new vaccine when he delivered a speech at a press conference at the end of the day. He was seen as a symbol of the enterprising spirit after Brexit, and he was soberly aware that the country is still in a serious crisis. He refused to rule out further changes in the school. Until now, the school has been one of the only areas where the government insists on using guns.
Johnson said: “I think my emotions are both frustration and optimism, equal to grim determination.”
This is in stark contrast to the confident prime minister, who debated the trade agreement in the morning, praising it as a way to “take back control of our money, our borders, our laws and our waters” .
He said: “We are now seizing this moment to establish a fantastic new relationship with our European neighbors on the basis of free trade and friendly cooperation.”
Although there is not enough time for review, the ease of passing the agreement through parliament and the stalemate of Brexit before last year’s election deviates from many drastic votes.
Conservative MPs, including a group of hardline Brexit supporters, rallied with the support of Mr Johnson. Considering that the rift in the European Union has plagued the party for decades, and that Britain has made substantial concessions to Brussels during the talks, he succeeded in dissolving the party’s Brexiteer margin.
Conservative MP William Cash has opposed European integration during his career. He called the deal “a real turning point in our history” and said Mr. Johnson “preserved our democracy.”
Even the opposition Labor Party ordered its legislators to support the agreement, but it is better than nothing. Although more than 30 countries have refused to vote for the agreement, this creates new obstacles to trade with European countries.
Critics point out that Johnson’s transaction is incapable of doing anything to the British service industry, which means adding bureaucracy to British companies exporting to the European continent, which will add millions of customs declarations to the customs.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May pointed out that lawmakers spent several months rejecting all previous attempts to reach a trade agreement with the EU. On Wednesday, lawmakers approved a deal within a few hours, and Mrs. May said it was not as good as the proposal made by her government last year.
Mr. Johnson still achieves his political goals by improving the country’s ability to exercise sovereignty and make decisions without being restricted by EU institutions such as the European Court of Justice.
Some pointed out that the AstraZeneca vaccine and Pfizer vaccine were quickly approved a few weeks ago to demonstrate this new freedom, even though the UK is still subject to EU regulations while being approved. These regulations allow all member states to approve vaccines to EU health regulators during a pandemic, but only the United Kingdom does so.
Analysts said that if the United Kingdom is still a member of the European Union, the United Kingdom will feel more pressure to not catch up with the European Union.
There is no shortage of critics of trade agreements. The fishing workers accused Mr. Johnson of surrendering his fishing rights to the European Union. Business leaders are worried about the bureaucratic burden that this transaction will bring, but this will not help the service industry, which accounts for about four-fifths of the British economy.
However, Mr. Johnson denied the suggestion that the new arrangement would cause headaches for British companies.
He said in an interview: “For example, from the perspective of British exporters, they will now have the advantage of just filling out a set of forms to export to the world.” The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) concealed the fact that When the United Kingdom becomes part of the European trading bloc, it does not need to fill in millions of new customs forms.
Mr. Johnson said that opponents of Brexit often warn that Britain cannot break away from EU rules and still trade freely with the EU. In other words, Britain cannot eat cake.
The Prime Minister said: “The facts have proved that this is incorrect.” “I hope you see that this is a treaty between Kenya and China.”