UK Tightens Restrictions as Cases Rise 'Exponentially'

Virus alert level has been raised
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 21, 2020 5:14 PM CDT
UK Raises COVID Alert Level as Cases Surge
A woman wears a mask as she passes people dining out in London, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

British pubs will have to close early and people who fail to obey quarantine rules will face stiff fines under new lockdown restrictions to curb a surging wave of new coronavirus infections. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to announce the new measures Tuesday, a day after the UK's chief medical officers raised the nation’s COVID-19 alert level, saying the virus is in general circulation and spreading fast. Other top medical experts said Britain's number of daily new infections—which stood Monday at 4,300—could rise as high as 50,000 a day in October if immediate action is not taken, the AP reports. The prime minister's office said starting Thursday, pubs, bars, and other hospitality venues will be restricted to table service only and will have to close at 10pm.

Johnson is due to update Parliament on the coronavirus situation Tuesday after meetings of his Cabinet and the government's crisis committee, COBRA. He will also make a televised address to the nation about efforts to combat the virus. The UK has gradually been increasing restrictions as cases rise, with people barred from meeting in large groups. Earlier lockdown measures were eased starting in June as cases began to fall, but that trend has now been reversed. On Monday, the chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland raised the virus alert from three to four, the second-highest level, on the advice of the Joint Biosecurity Center. They said cases of COVID-19 were rising “rapidly and probably exponentially.”

(More United Kingdom stories.)

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