New lockdown restrictions in England, including a 10pm curfew on pubs, could be in place for six months.
In a fresh bid to curb rising Covid-19 infections, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the new rules will become a legal requirement – with the UK reaching a “perilous turning point” in the fight against the disease.
From Thursday, all hospitality, leisure, entertainment and tourism businesses will have to shut from 10pm til 5am. They will also be restricted to table service.
Mr Johnson also urged people to go back to working from home and warned that daily deaths will increase unless the new measures are enforced. The Prime Minister said that people should expect changes to remain in place for “six months” and the military could be drafted in to help police enforce them.
BREAKING: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says new coronavirus restrictions on hospitality, sporting events and social contact are likely to be in place for 6 months pic.twitter.com/MPhKpy2R7H
— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) September 22, 2020
He said: “We always knew that while we might have driven the virus into retreat, the prospect of a second wave was real and I’m sorry to say that, as in Spain and France and many other countries, we’ve reached a perilous turning point.”
The latest announcement comes after the UK’s COVID-19 alert level recently moved to 4, which translates to virus transmission being “high or rising exponentially”.
Yesterday, 4,368 new cases were reported in the UK, with 11 deaths.
Other restrictions put in place across the UK this week include a ban on households mixing indoors in Northern Ireland, while four more counties in South Wales are set to face new restrictions from 6pm tonight.
The new restrictions come as Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, warned this week that, without further restrictions, the UK could see up to 50,000 new COVID-19 cases a day by the middle of October, translating to upwards of 200 deaths per day a month later in mid-November.
It’s the first new set of rules to be rolled out in England since early September, when gatherings of groups of more than six people were banned in the country.