Boris Johnson announces second national lockdown for the UK after COVID-19 surge

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a second national lockdown after a surge in coronavirus cases.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a national lockdown next week after his scientific advisers told him it was the only way to save Christmas. Picture: Henry Nicholls/AFP

From Thursday, non-essential shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and other hospitality venues must close or move to takeaway-only.

People can only leave their homes for work, school, food shopping, health services or outdoor recreation. Brits can only meet one person from another household in outdoor environments.

Unlike the UK’s first lockdown, schools and universities can remain open.

The lockdown will last four weeks, until December 2. The UK passed one million COVID-19 cases this weekend.

We must act now to contain the autumn surge, Mr Johnson said during a press conference.

The UK’s move follows that of France and Germany last week, which reintroduced national lockdowns in a bid to curb the second wave of virus cases.

Earlier, it was announced that from Monday, nearly 2.4 million residents in five districts of West Yorkshire, including in the city of Leeds, will be barred from socialising with other households indoors.

The Department of Health said the measures were needed as infection rates in West Yorkshire were “among the highest in the country” and rising rapidly.

In its weekly study of COVID-19 prevalence, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the number of people with the virus had increased to around one in 100 nationwide.

There has been growth in all age groups over the past two weeks; older teenagers and young adults continue to have the highest current rates while rates appear to be steeply increasing among secondary school children, it said.

The country’s official science advisory panel warned in a report published Friday that the virus was spreading “significantly” faster and that hospitalisations were rising at a higher rate through England than its predicted “worst-case” scenario drawn up in July.

The report said that in mid-October, shortly before new local rules were introduced, around four times as many people were catching COVID than anticipated in the July report.

That study warned that 85,000 more people could die during the winter wave.

Before Mr Johnson instituted a national lockdown, more than 11 million people – about a fifth of England’s population – was already to be under the tightest measures from next week.

Most of the areas in the “very high” category of the government’s three-tier COVID alert system are in northern and central parts of the country.

Nottingham became the latest city to enter the highest tier Friday.

On Thursday night, young people took to the streets in fancy dress and drank alcohol in large groups before a ban on alcohol sales in shops came into force at 2100 GMT.

Britain has already been the worst-hit in Europe by the pandemic, as more than 45,000 people have died within 28 days after testing positive.

Case rates are spiralling again after a lull, tracking the situation elsewhere on the continent.

England is seeing nearly 52,000 new cases daily, a 47 per cent weekly rise, according to the ONS, which conducts its analysis of households with the help of several universities and health bodies, and excludes people in hospitals and care homes.

Britain’s European neighbours and the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have reimposed partial lockdowns to try to cut infection rates.


While festive holidays have been dubbed “super spreaders” in most nations – due to the large numbers of people and the nature of the gatherings – the Prime Minister has been advised to bookend Christmas Day with lockdowns to minimise the impact.

The original plan would see restrictions enforced in the lead up to the big day while easing them on Christmas Day, immediately followed by a “circuit-breaker” lockdown to help curb rising numbers.

Others disagree with a harsher lockdown, arguing that COVID hysteria is more damaging than the virus itself.

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