British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced a new month-long lockdown for England after being warned that without tough action a resurgent coronavirus outbreak will overwhelm hospitals in weeks, the AP reports. On the day the UK passed 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, Johnson made a sudden about-face and confirmed that stringent restrictions on business and daily life would begin Thursday and last until Dec. 2. He said at a televised news conference that "no responsible prime minister" could ignore the grim figures. "Unless we act, we could see deaths in this country running at several thousand a day," said Johnson, who was hospitalized earlier this year for a serious case of COVID-19.
Under the new restrictions, bars and restaurants can only offer take-out, non-essential shops must close, and people will only be able to leave home for a short list of reasons including exercise. Activities ranging from haircuts to foreign holidays must once again be put on hold. Unlike during the UK's first three-month lockdown earlier this year, schools, universities, construction sites and manufacturing businesses will stay open. As in other European countries, virus cases in the UK began to climb after lockdown measures were eased in the summer and people began to return to workplaces, schools, universities, and social life. The Office for National Statistics estimated Friday that 1 in 100 people in England, well over half a million, had the virus in the week to Oct. 23.
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