British PM announces new coronavirus lockdown

New lockdown to come into force starting Thursday and will be in effect until December 2.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson
Kobi Richter/TPS

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced a new four-week coronavirus lockdown across England.

Under the stringent new rules set to come into force starting 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, reported the AFP news agency.

Pubs and restaurants will shut down 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.

Johnson will set out the new measures, which include extending a financial support scheme to help businesses pay furloughed employees for an additional month to December, to parliament on Monday, according to AFP.

Lawmakers will vote on them on Wednesday.

The ramped-up response came as Britain surpassed one million cases of COVID-19, as nearly 22,000 new infections were recorded on Saturday, and virus hospitalizations climbed by 1,239, the highest daily tally since late April.

The government's scientific advisors have warned that COVID-19's prevalence, and resulting hospitalizations and deaths, are rising faster than their most dire predictions.

After announcing a lockdown on March 23 in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Britain, Johnson in May outlined a roadmap for a return to routine.

The British Prime Minister himself dealt with the virus and even had to go into intensive care.

He later revealed that his health deteriorated so badly after contracting coronavirus that a strategy was drawn up in case he died.