The United Kingdom has reached “a perilous turning point” in its struggle to contain coronavirus according to Boris Johnson.
The prime minister has set out a series of new restrictions for England with a warning that they could be in place for 6 months. He said that “significantly greater restrictions” will be brought in if cases continue to rise sharply.
Mr Johnson addressed the House of Commons and went on to explain his decisions in a televised address.
Reversing earlier policy, he said office workers in England should now work from home if possible. That was always the case in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Pubs and restaurants will only have table service and will have to be closed by 10pm. Customers will have to wear a face mask unless they’re seated.
There’ll be stricter penalties too in England with a fine of £200 if people don’t wear a mask or meet in groups of more than six people.
Despite the rising number of infections the prime minister told people who were shielding early in the pandemic that they didn’t need to shield again, unless they’re in an area with a local lockdown.
Some experts have said the measures announced will not be enough to suppress the virus in England. The Scottish government has gone much further. From tomorrow people there will be banned from visiting other households.
The Prime Minister emphasised that the new measures being introduced were intended to shelter the economy from further damage. However the employers organisation the CBI said that the measures would be a crushing blow to thousands of businesses with many firms facing uncertain futures.
Huw Edwards presents BBC News at Ten reporting by political editor Laura Kuenssberg, medical editor Fergus Walsh, Scotland editor Sarah Smith, Ireland correspondent Emma Vardy, Wales correspondent Hywel Griffith and economics editor Faisal Islam.
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