Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday imposed yet another lockdown on England as a more transmissible variant of Covid-19 has forced a surge in infections and hospitalizations in the country.
People can only leave their homes to shop for essentials, work if they can, from home, exercise, go to the doctor’s and escape domestic abuse, he said in an announcement Monday evening. Primary schools, secondary schools and colleges will also move to remote learning Tuesday, except in rare cases, he said.
International departures are now limited to those who have “a legally permitted reason,” such as work.
Outdoor sports venues will have to close. But unlike spring’s lockdown, nurseries will not be shuttered, elite sports can go ahead, and places of worship will remain open on the basis that attendees adhere to social distancing rules.
“I completely understand the inconvenience and distress this change will cause millions of people and parents up and down the country,” Johnson said. “The problem isn’t that schools are unsafe for children … the problem is that schools may act as vectors of transmission, causing the virus to spread between households.”
To date, the country has recorded over 2.6 million cases of coronavirus and more than 75,000 related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.