British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is resisting calls by some public health officials to implement new COVID-19 restrictions, despite a surge of new infections hitting the nation.
The Health Ministry reported 52,000 new infections on Thursday, with a daily average the past week of more than 44,000 — a 16% increase from the previous week.
The World Health Organization reported this week that Britain has among the highest number of daily new infections in the European region, the only part of the world that saw an increase in new cases last week.
Speaking to reporters, Johnson said the government is going to stick to a plan it laid out earlier this year which called for a series of steps to allow the country to reopen and lift the restrictions.
Johnson said officials are carefully watching the COVID-19 numbers and said while the figures are high, they are within the parameters that government experts predicted.
Johnson said the best thing people can do now is get a booster shot. Almost 80% of British residents 12 and older have been fully vaccinated, and everyone over 50 is being offered a booster.
Johnson said, “Ninety percent of the adult population has antibodies right now. But we must fortify ourselves further.”
Critics of the government plan say the booster campaign is moving more slowly than the infection. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Thursday the booster shot campaign is currently vaccinating about 165,000 people a day and that it should be closer to 500,000 per day.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse.