(CMR) Amidst the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the UK, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a new national lockdown for England until at least mid-February.
The lockdown, which was announced Monday evening, will be similar to one implemented in March 2020 during the pandemic's early stages.
With cases rising rapidly, the Prime Minister said it was “a critical moment” for the country. He said during a national broadcast Monday evening:
“As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals are under more pressure from COVID than at any time since the start of the pandemic.”
There were 26,626 COVID-19 patients in hospitals in England on Monday, an increase of more than 30% from a week ago. That is 40% above the highest hospitalization level during the first wave of the virus during spring.
The UK also recorded its highest daily total since the start of the pandemic, with 58,784 new coronavirus cases on Monday. This is the seventh consecutive day that there have been over 50,000 confirmed cases of the virus.
The lockdown came even as the UK rolled out the AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday.
Under the new lockdown, everyone will be expected to stay at home except for people who cannot work from home.
Residents will only be allowed to leave their homes to shop for necessities such as food and medicines, exercise once per day at a local location, and attend medical appointments.
People will also be allowed to leave home to provide help to vulnerable people.
All classes from the primary to tertiary levels will be moved online as of Tuesday, with students not returning to the classroom until at least mid-February.
All nonessential shops and personal care services like hairdressers will be closed, and restaurants can only operate takeout services.