British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced a new four-week coronavirus lockdown across England, a dramatic shift in strategy following warnings hospitals would become overwhelmed within weeks under his current system of localised restrictions.
Under the stringent new rules set to come into force from Thursday, people must stay at home except in cases where exemptions apply, such as for work, education or exercise, while all but essential shops will close.
In contrast to the months-long UK-wide lockdown earlier this year, schools, colleges and universities will remain open.
But pubs and restaurants will shut unless serving takeaway food, while all leisure and entertainment venues and non-essential shops will close.
The restrictions are planned to end on December 2.
“Now is the time to take action because there’s no alternative,” Johnson said at a Downing Street news conference after convening his Cabinet earlier in the day to sign off on the plan.
“We have got to be humble in the face of nature. In this country, alas, as in much of Europe, the virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst-case scenario of our scientific advisers,” he added.