News Mash-up: COVID-19 Lockdowns

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. variant / ˈvɛər i ənt / (n) – a form or version of something that is slightly different from its usual form

    Some variants of the virus seem to be more deadly than others.

  2. shot / ʃɒt / (n) – an injection of a type of medicine, vaccine, etc. into the body

    I hated getting shots at the doctor when I was a kid.

  3. hurriedly / ˈhɜr id li / (adv) – in a way that is rushed

    Jane woke up late, so she skipped her morning shower and hurriedly got dressed.

  4. setback / ˈsɛtˌbæk / (n) – a problem that makes it difficult to progress or succeed

    Despite a number of setbacks, we were able to release our new product on time.

  5. contagious / kənˈteɪ dʒəs / (adj) – easily able to spread from one person to another by touch or through the air

    The disease is very contagious, so if you were in the same room as Eric, you should get tested.


Read the text below.

UK in lockdown again as it starts new vaccine

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Jan. 4 a new national lockdown for England until at least mid-February to combat a fast-spreading new variant of the coronavirus, even as Britain ramped up its vaccination program by becoming the first nation to start using the shot developed by Oxford University and drugmaker AstraZeneca.

Johnson said people must stay at home again, this time because the new virus variant was spreading in a “frustrating and alarming” way.

As of Jan. 4, there were 26,626 COVID-19 patients in hospitals in England, an increase of more than 30% from a week ago. (AP)

Auckland in new lockdown after 3 infected

New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, was hurriedly placed into a three-day lockdown Feb. 14 after three unexplained coronavirus cases were found.

It’s the country’s first lockdown in six months and represented a setback in its largely successful efforts to control the virus.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the three community cases — an Auckland mother, father and daughter — were of the more contagious variant first found in Britain and that genome testing hadn’t linked them to any previous known cases. (AP)

These articles were provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Do you think that your country has done enough to control the pandemic? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, what country has done the best job with regards to the pandemic? Why? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, what country has done the worst job with regards to the pandemic? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • How concerned are you about the new variants? Why? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, are strict lockdowns necessary to limit community spread of the new variants, or are measures like masks and social distancing enough? Why? Discuss.
  • Some people are worried that freedoms we give up now will be lost forever. Do you think there’s reason to be concerned about lockdowns? Why or why not? Discuss.