Pound Slumps as England Set for Third Lockdown to Curb Virus Spread

By Administration_ India

Capital Sands

The pound fell sharply against the dollar Monday after the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a third national lockdown for England until mid-February to curb rising infections that threaten to overrun hospitals across the country.

GBP/USD fell 0.8% to $1.3556 From midnight Monday, England will head into a third nationwide lockdown, with most schools and non-essential retailers are set to close, Johnson said after heeding a warning that health services could be overwhelmed in just 21 days without further restrictions.

The new coronavirus strain, forecast to be between 50% and 70% more infectious than the original strain, is starting to take its toll on the health services as infections rose by a record 58,784 on Monday from 55,157 a day earlier. That was the seventh-straight day of more than 50,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.

The move marked a blow to expectations that restrictions could be lifted by Easter, with experts predicting a further delay would slow the economic recovery, and prompt the Bank of England to ease monetary policy.

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine distribution program got underway on Monday. The prime minister warned that while the vaccine would eventually lead to the lifting of many restrictions, there would be a time lag before the pressure alleviated on the National Health Service.

Ahead of this decision, the prime minister had faced calls from opposition leaders to impose a new national lockdown to allow vaccines to be delivered.

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