Boris Johnson says Europe's third Covid wave will reach the UK - what we know so far

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 2:43 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd March 2021, 2:43 pm
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK can expect to feel the effects of Europe’s third wave of Covid infections (Photo: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK can expect to feel the effects of Europe’s third wave of Covid infections (Photo: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK can expect to feel the effects of Europe’s third wave of Covid infections.

Various European countries, including France and Italy, are currently experiencing a surge in cases of coronavirus, with respective lockdowns put into place and rules being tightened across major cities.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

‘Previous experience has taught us that when a wave hits our friends, it washes up on our shores as well’

The Prime Minister has said that based on past experience during the coronavirus pandemic, the UK can expect Europe’s third wave of Covid infections to “wash up on our shores.”

Speaking to broadcasters at BAE Systems in Lancashire on Monday (22 March), Mr Johnson said: “I’ve talked to our (European) friends repeatedly over the period – we’re all facing the same pandemic, we all have the same problems.

“If there is one thing that is worth stressing it’s that on the continent right now you can see sadly there is a third wave under way.

“People in this country should be under no illusions that previous experience has taught us that when a wave hits our friends, it washes up on our shores as well.

“I expect that we will feel those effects in due course.”

However, the Prime Minister added: “That’s why we’re getting on with our vaccination programme as fast as we can but a vaccination campaign and developing vaccines, rolling them out – these are international projects and they require international co-operation.”

This comes as the Prime Minister is expected to speak to EU leaders this week regarding proposals to ban the export of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines to the UK.

EU leaders are set to meet on Thursday (25 March) in a virtual summit to discuss the matter, but the Prime Minister is expected to call his EU counterparts individually before the meeting.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has said the EU has the power to “forbid” exports, adding: “That is the message to AstraZeneca.”

This comes as frustrations begin to grow in the EU due to it not getting the supplies it expected from the British-Swedish manufacturer.

European leaders have recently faced criticism regarding the slow pace of the vaccine rollout on the continent, with less than 12 per cent of the EU's population reported to have received the vaccine, compared with a nearly 40 per cent vaccination rate in the UK.