British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced England will undergo a second national lockdown after the U.K. passed one million coronavirus cases.
The month-long shutdown will go into effect on Thursday as Johnson was forced to announce the news after national newspapers leaked the news on Friday, moving away from his original plan of a Monday announcement.
“No responsible prime minister” could ignore figures which suggested deaths would reach “several thousand a day”, with a “peak of mortality” worse than the country saw in April,” Johnson said.
The lockdown will see pubs, restaurants and non-essential businesses, including hair salons and gyms all close. However, schools, universities and playgrounds will stay open. People will only be allowed to leave their home for specific reasons such as school, work, to shop for food, for health reasons, or for exercise and recreation outdoors.
The British government has also discouraged non-essential travel but will allow travel abroad for work, providing people follow England’s quarantine rules.
The new shutdown will remain in place until December 2, when Johnson hopes the virus will be under control enough to tackle the virus on a region-by-region basis.
“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,” Johnson said.
The news comes following rising infections in the country. A total of 21,915 new cases reported on Saturday brings the overall total to one million with 326 new deaths, bringing the death toll to 46,555.
Northern Ireland and Wales have already gone through the second lockdown of sorts with plans to resume activate as normal.