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At 'Perilous Turning Point,' UK Gets Stricter

New restrictions in place as hospitalizations double
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2020 10:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – New coronavirus restrictions are in place across the UK, which is facing "a perilous turning point," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday. In England, people are asked to again work from home, indoor team sports have been banned, and all bars and restaurants must close by 10pm, reports the BBC. Masks are required for all retail and hospitality staff, as well as for people in taxis. And weddings are now limited to 15 people, down from 30. Indoor and outdoor social gatherings that don't meet certain exemptions are limited to six people under a law that went into effect last week. Fines for violating the restrictions have been raised to $255 for a first offense and jurisdictions will receive extra funding for enforcement. NBC News reports the leaders of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland—who met with Johnson earlier Tuesday—have implemented similar measures.

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"We always knew that while we might have driven the virus into retreat, the prospect of a second wave was real," Johnson said from the House of Commons, per the BBC. "I'm sorry to say that, as in Spain and France and many other countries, we've reached a perilous turning point." He noted hospitalizations have doubled in the past two weeks and that COVID-19 is likely to spread faster in winter, "so this is the moment when we must act." He added the restrictions would remain in place for "perhaps six months" and "we reserve the right to deploy greater fire power with significantly greater restrictions" if the reproduction number remains above 1, meaning the virus is continuing to spread. "If we fail to act together now, we not only put others at risk but jeopardize our own futures with the more drastic action that we will inevitably be forced to take,” he said, per the Guardian. (Read more United Kingdom stories.)

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