COVID-19: 2nd national lockdown starts in England
Millions of people required to stay at home as part of efforts to stem rising coronavirus infections, deaths
Millions of Brits have started to stay at home as a second national lockdown to curb resurging coronavirus infections kicked in on Thursday.
Under the restrictions, people are asked not to leave their homes unless necessary, work from home if they can, and avoid meeting more than one person at a time.
Non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants, and gyms will remain closed until the end of the lockdown on Dec. 2.
The new measures come into effect amid a second wave of the pandemic that has brought about a sharp spike in both infections and deaths over the past few weeks.
Government data released on Wednesday showed a further 25,177 people tested positive for COVID-19 across the UK over the past 24 hours, the second-highest figure on record, bringing the total near to 1.1 million (1,099,059).
A further 492 fatalities raised the death toll to 47,742.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he was “not prepared to take a risk with the lives of the British people,” stressing that without a fresh lockdown there would be deaths “on a grievous scale.”
He said the National Health Service (NHS) would likely be in “extraordinary trouble” next month without the restrictions.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is also expected to make an announcement on a furlough scheme under which the government pays 80% of the salaries of people who lose their jobs due to lockdowns.
British police have warned the public about stricter action against rule-breakers ahead of England’s second lockdown.
Martin Hewitt, chair of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), said those blatantly and deliberately flouting the regulations should expect punishment.
Also on Thursday, the Bank of England has launched a fresh £150bn stimulus package for the UK economy amid the second national lockdown.
A new study published in the British Medical Journal found that delaying cancer treatment by four weeks – the length of the second lockdown in England – could increase the risk of death from cancer by around 10%, with the risk increasing in line with the delay to treatment.
Meanwhile, in new rules published yesterday, all secondary school pupils and their teachers must now wear face masks in school in communal places where social distancing cannot be practiced; classrooms are exempt.
China also announced that due to the pandemic, it has banned non-Chinese nationals arriving from the UK, as well as Belgium and the Philippines.
The Chinese Embassy in the UK said: “This is a temporary measure taken by China in response to the current pandemic.”Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.