British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says a lockdown will be put in place in England next week as part of efforts to stop a surge in coronavirus cases, as the country reached the 1 million mark for total confirmed infections on Saturday.
Non-essential shops, as well as leisure and entertainment venues, will be closed from Thursday through December 2, as will pubs, bars and restaurants, which can only offer takeaway and delivery services. Schools and other educational institutes will remain open, however.
“I’m afraid from Thursday the basic message is the same: Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives,” said Johnson, warning that without the measures, the death rate could grow even higher.
“Christmas is going to be different this year, perhaps very different, but it’s my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action, we can allow families across the country to be together,” Johnson said, citing similar measures by France, Germany and Belgium.
He added that the devolved governments had been informed.
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The 1-million mark was reached as the country’s health authorities reported nearly 22,000 new cases within 24 hours. However, it’s still not the worst-affected in Europe, trailing behind France and Spain.
However, Britain’s death toll is the highest in Europe, with more than 45,000 related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Johnson had introduced a three-tier system of restrictions for England in mid-October, but the move was criticized as insufficient.
The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) suggested a new lockdown weeks ago.
Vanguard News Nigeria
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