Streets usually buoyant with tourists and Christmas shoppers were instead empty, while the typical fight to get a seat on a London Underground train was replaced by a struggle to spot other commuters.
Most dramatically, train stations that had been dangerously packed with people desperately trying to flee the city Saturday night before the lockdown started at midnight were almost completely deserted.
The striking images came as the Daily Mirror newspaper branded Britain the “Sick Man of Europe” amid a mounting number of nations blocking borders to keep out the new strain, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned appears to be up to 70 percent more transmissible.
Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland are among those that have already shut off travel ties following Johnson’s warning Saturday.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted Sunday that it was “reprehensible” and “grossly negligent” for the federal government to allow UK travelers to fly to the Empire State without at least being tested for COVID-19.
“Right now, this variant in the UK is getting on a plane and flying to JFK,” Cuomo said. “Literally six flights a day. And all it takes is one person,” he warned.
On Monday, new data showed that the previous week had seen more than 47,000 confirmed infections in London — more than doubling in a week, the city’s Evening Standard said.
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