England Declares Second National Lockdown Amid Rapid COVID-19 Spread, Cinemas Expected to Close
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a second national lockdown in England from Nov. 5 as the second wave of coronavirus cases soar across the country.
All pubs, restaurants and non-essential retail businesses will close until early December, after which some areas may go into lower-tier restrictions, depending on the seriousness of local cases. Leisure and entertainment venues will also close, Johnson said.
Film and TV production, however, will be able to continue under strict COVID-safe guidelines, Variety understands.
Schools, universities, courts, construction and parliament will also remain open.
“We’ve got to be humble in the face of nature,” Johnson said, addressing a press briefing.
The U.K. has recorded 21,915 new cases and 326 deaths in the last 24 hours. Of these, 18,864 are in England, 1,101
in Scotland, 1,301 in Wales and 649 in Northern Ireland. There are now more than a million cases recorded in total, and deaths have crossed 46,000.
Wales, Northern Ireland, parts of Scotland and most of England’s midlands were already in partial lockdown. Wales will come out of lockdown on Nov. 9 and Northern Ireland on Nov. 13 as scheduled, their local governments have confirmed.
The ‘R’ or the reproduction rate of the virus, that the government has been seeking to keep below 1, is well above that now, England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and the government’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance revealed during the press briefing.
A study by Imperial College London states that nearly 100,000 people are being infected with COVID-19 every day in England.
On Sept. 21, the government appointed Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) had recommended a national “circuit break lockdown” to stop the spread of coronavirus. The government chose not to follow the recommendation at the time, choosing instead to impose local restrictions.
More to follow.