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British PM declares COVID-19 lockdown in England

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The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on Monday, declared a full COVID-19 lockdown in England, a country of nearly 56 million people.

The lockdown will be in place until mid-February in a bid to cut the spiraling COVID-19 infection rates.

Johnson, who announced this in a televised address, said the measures, which include the closure of primary and secondary schools, would come into effect Wednesday.

Scotland had earlier announced that the lockdown would come into force from midnight (0000 GMT) on Tuesday.

At least 44 million people or three-quarters of the population of England are already living under the toughest restrictions, as Britain grapples with one of the worst mortality rates from COVID-19 in the world.

But they have failed to halt an upward trend in positive cases, which have been blamed on a more infectious new COVID-19 variant.

Johnson said that as of Monday, almost 27,000 people with COVID-19 were in the hospital — 40 percent more than at the peak of first wave of the outbreak in April last year.

Last Tuesday, more than 80,000 people tested positive for COVID-19 in just 24 hours.

“With most of the country already under extreme measures, it’s clear that we need to do more, together, to bring this new variant under control while our vaccines are rolled out,” he said.

“In England, we must therefore go into a national lockdown.”

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The new measures are similar to those during the first, three-month lockdown from late March to June last year.

They include the closure of schools, working from home wherever possible, limits on leaving home, except for exercise, essential shopping and for medical supplies, and no household mixing.

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