Update : British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced a new monthlong lockdown for England after being warned that without tough action a resurgent coronavirus outbreak will overwhelm hospitals in weeks.
On the day the U.K. passed 1 million confirmed Covid-19 cases, Johnson made a sudden about-face and confirmed that stringent restrictions on business and daily life would begin Thursday and last until Dec. 2.
In this country, as across much of Europe, the virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst case scenario of our scientific advisers.
If we fail to take action, then there is a real risk of depriving non-covid patients of the care that they need from the NHS.
In England, from Thursday until the start of December, you must stay at home.
Non-essential shops, leisure, and entertainment venues will be closed. Pubs, bars and restaurants must close except for takeaway and delivery services.
You may leave your home for work, for exercise, with your household or on your own with one person from another household, to shop for food and essentials, for medical care and to provide care for others.
Single adult households can still form exclusive support bubbles with one other household, and children will still be able to move between homes if their parents are separated.
Childcare, early years settings, schools, colleges and universities will all remain open. Our senior clinicians still advise that school is the best place for children to be.
I urge parents to continue taking their children to school and am so grateful to teachers for their dedication in enabling schools to remain open.
These measures will be time-limited, starting next Thursday 5 November. They will end on Wednesday 2 December, when we will seek to ease restrictions on a local and regional basis according to the latest data and trends.
I want to thank the millions of people who have been putting up with restrictions for so long. I know how difficult this has been for everyone.
We will get through this – but we must act now to contain the spread of coronavirus.
While Christmas will be very different this year, it is my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now, we can allow families across the country to be together.
Earlier: Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to order England back into a national lockdown as the United Kingdom passed the milestone of one million COVID-19 cases on Saturday and scientists warned the virus was spreading faster than their worst predictions.
The United Kingdom, which has the biggest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19, is grappling with more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day and scientists have warned the “worst case” scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded.
As Johnson prepared for a hastily arranged news conference in Downing Street after news of the lockdown leaked to local media, the government said total confirmed COVID-19 cases had risen 21,915 in the past day to 1,011,660.
The news conference was delayed and was now expected to take place at 6:30 p.m. (1830 GMT), a source said.
Johnson held a cabinet meeting on Saturday after government scientists warned the outbreak was going in the wrong direction and that action was needed to halt the spread of the virus if families were to have any hope of gathering at Christmas.