Boris Johnson Announces New National Coronavirus Lockdown

(Screenshot/BBC News UK)

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United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Monday evening that England would go into a new national lockdown, citing an increased strain on hospitals.

“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. “In England alone, the number of COVID patients in hospitals has increased by nearly a third in the last week to almost 27,000.” (RELATED: Boris Johnson: ‘Tougher Lockdown Restrictions Probably On Way’ Amid Rise In COVID-19 Cases)

Under the lockdown restrictions, gatherings with members of more than one household are prohibited and citizens are ordered to stay home except for essential activities, Business Insider reported. All shops except for essential businesses will be forced to close and schools will be closed to all children except for vulnerable populations and the children of essential workers, beginning Tuesday.

Johnson had previously said that schools were “safe” to re-open and had resisted entering into another lockdown, according to the report.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced just hours earlier that Scotland was entering a lockdown.

Johnson’s announcement comes two weeks after the U.K. discovered the presence of a new strain of the virus. Since the chief medical officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, announced the discovery of the new highly contagious strain, more than 40 countries announced restrictions on travel from the U.K.