Millions in England under new virus restrictions

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Approximately 28 million people in England, more than half the population, are now living under strict conditions imposed on Saturday as the country grapples with a surge in coronavirus cases.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration has put in place a three-tier warning system to help contain the disease. Some virus hotspots see bans on household shuffling and pub closings.

The UK is the hardest hit country in Europe with over 43,000 deaths in nearly 700,000 cases.

Recent measures prohibit indoor gatherings of people from different households in the capital, London and other parts of England.

Johnson has ruled out a full lockdown for the time being to stave off further damage to the economy, despite demands from his academic advisors and the opposition Labor Party.

Instead, the government is taking localized action to tighten restrictions across England, where meetings of more than six people are already banned and pubs and restaurants are forced to close at 10:00 p.m.

In Northern Ireland, pubs and restaurants closed for a month on Friday while the school holidays were extended to two weeks.

In Wales, entry of people from areas with high virus prevalence in other parts of the country has been banned since Friday.

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© 2020 AFP

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