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LONDON – The British Prime Minister thanked British scientists, healthcare workers and the public for their efforts against the coronavirus pandemic in his New Year’s message, promising that 2021 will be ‘an incredible time’ for the UK
It was a year like no other. Coming out of the general election last December with a large majority, Boris Johnson entered the home stretch of Brexit negotiations with enough parliamentary support to push for the kind of Brexit he wanted. The negotiations went all the way, but the PM managed to strike a trade and cooperation deal with the EU on Christmas Eve, which became UK law in the early hours of Thursday.
But 2020 was also the year the coronavirus pandemic claimed the lives of more than 82,000 people in the UK, plunged GDP, forced Johnson to impose two national lockdowns and other ongoing restrictions against his instincts most basic, and even sent him to intensive care. in April, the darkest hours of Downing Street.
Although the coronavirus continues to strain the country’s National Health Service, Johnson said on Thursday that approval of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and drug maker AstraZeneca, which can be produced at low cost and stored at room temperature, “literally brings new life. to people in this country and around the world. “
“As the sun rises tomorrow in 2021, we are certain 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, ”he added.
Johnson said: “There will be a lot of people who are only too happy to say goodbye to the gloomy 2020”, but this year has also shown “the courage and selflessness” of NHS staff and workers to home, the “renewed spirit of volunteerism”, and the breakthroughs of UK scientists tackling COVID-19.
2021 will see Britain ‘free’ to make trade deals around the world, ‘energize’ its ‘ambition to be a scientific superpower from biosciences to artificial intelligence’, tackle climate change and rebound from the pandemic, Johnson added.
“We have our freedom in our hands and it’s up to us to make the most of it,” he said. “And I think it will be the overwhelming instinct of the people of this country to come together as one UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland working together to express our values. in the world.
Above all, the Prime Minister concluded, 2021 will be “the year we end up doing those everyday things that now seem to be lost in the past.”