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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces second coronavirus lockdown

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces second coronavirus lockdown
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday announced a second coronavirus lockdown for England amid a more infectious new variation of the virus and rising caseloads throughout the country.

The national lockdown will replace a tiered system that assigned different restrictions to different regions of the country, Johnson said in an address Monday evening.

The new restrictions, which are similar to the national lockdown Johnson announced last March, require people to stay home except for work — if they cannot work from home — for essential shopping, local exercise once per day, medical needs or to flee the threat of harm.

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The U.K. has recorded more than 2.6 million cases of the virus and 75,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Johnson’s announcement came after British officials recorded more than 50,000 new daily cases for seven consecutive days.

Johnson said in his announcement that Scotland and Northern Ireland “are taking similar steps.”

Scottish officials announced earlier Monday that they would also impose their own lockdown measures through the end of January. Places of worship and group exercise classes will be closed and all schooling will switch to online instruction.

“I am more concerned about the situation that we face now than I have been at any time since March,” Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told Scotland’s parliament, saying the more transmissible strain comprises nearly 50 percent of new Scottish cases.

The announcement came the same day the U.K. began administering the Oxford-developed AstraZeneca vaccine to citizens, the second British-approved vaccine after Pfizer’s shot in December.