It may be 2021, but it's about to feel like 2020 again in England, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said that people must stay home again, as they were ordered to do in March. The new lockdown will last at least six weeks, and will see schools and non-essential shops closed. People were told they should leave their home only once daily for exercise, reports the Guardian. Beyond that, they should work from home if at all possible and go out only for essential food and medicine. Johnson said those restrictions should be followed as of tonight, though MPs won't vote on them until Wednesday.
"As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals are under more pressure from COVID than at any time since the start of the pandemic," Johnson said, referring to the effect of the new B117 variant of the coronavirus, reports the AP. As for the numbers, 26,626 COVID patients are currently hospitalized in England, up more then 30% week over week. Johnson warned that the coming weeks "will be the hardest yet ... but I really do believe we are entering the last phase of the struggle because with every jab that goes into our arms we are tilting the odds against COVID and in favor of the British people." The BBC reports that the first four groups set to get the vaccine—including front-line workers and nursing home residents—are expected to have received their first dose by mid-February. (Read more coronavirus stories.)