Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the United Kingdom would be entering a full month of lockdown after coronavirus cases topped one million, the Associated Press reported Saturday.
The lockdown measures will severely restrict business operation and daily life for U.K. citizens and will last from November 5 to December 2, the AP reported. Restaurants, gyms, hair salons, and all non-essential businesses will be forced to close, though schools and playgrounds will remain open, Johnson said.
The U.K. has so far suffered more than 46,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19, with more than 300 new deaths on a daily basis.
“Unless we act, we could see deaths in this country running at several thousand a day,” Johnson said in a statement. “We know the cost of these restrictions.”
WATCH LIVE: An update on coronavirus (31 October 2020) https://t.co/IRsPKZ5kIR
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) October 31, 2020
Johnson himself was one of the first world leaders to contract the coronavirus, coming down with a serious case of the disease in March which left him spending several days in a hospital intensive care unit. (RELATED: ‘Precautionary Step’: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Hospitalized After Testing Positive For Coronavirus)
Johnson said Saturday that in certain areas in Europe the virus is spreading even faster than “the reasonable worst-case scenarios” put forward by experts. He said a lack of action could result in hospitals being overrun with patients across the country, forcing doctors to ration health care.
“The virus is doubling faster than we can conceivable increase [hospital] capacity,” Johnson said.
Johnson said people can only leave their homes for schooling, for work if they cannot work from home, for exercise with a maximum of one person outside your household, for medical appointments, and to shop for essential goods.
“I’m under no illusions about how difficult this will be for businesses which have already had to endure such hardship this year, and I am truly, truly sorry for that,” Johnson said, adding that the nation’s government would be extending its furlough protection program.