Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a second national lockdown for England as the UK passed one million Covid-19 cases.
He said the steps were necessary to avoid the “medical and moral disaster” of the NHS being overwhelmed.
Non-essential shops and hospitality will have to close for four weeks on Thursday, he said.
But unlike the restrictions in spring, schools, colleges and universities will be allowed to stay open.
After 2 December, the restrictions would be eased and regions would go back to the tiered system, he said.
Mr Johnson said: “Christmas is going to be different this year, perhaps very different, but it’s my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now we can allow families across the country to be together.”
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The prime minister told a Downing Street news conference that he was “truly, truly sorry” for the impact on businesses, but said the furlough system will be extended through November.
He said hospitals even in the south-west of England, where cases are among the lowest, will run out of capacity in weeks.
“Doctors and nurses would be forced to choose which patients to treat, who would get oxygen and who wouldn’t, who would live and who would die,” Mr Johnson said. – READ MORE