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UK enacting tighter restrictions amid COVID-19 surge

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday announced the reintroduction of some lockdown measures to mitigate surging coronavirus cases.

The new restrictions include the closure of pubs and restaurants from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., The Associated Press reported. Johnson also called on residents who are able to work from home to do so, according to the news service, which added that masks will be required on public transportation and in taxis, and weddings will be limited to 15 people rather than 30.

“This is the moment when we must act,” Johnson said.

Coronavirus cases in the U.K. have been on the rise in recent weeks, with the government reporting 4,300 new infections on Monday. The number is the highest since May, the AP noted. Although the U.K. has imposed new lockdown measures as cases have increased, the measures still fall short of those imposed in March, when the population was largely confined to their homes.

Britain’s official death toll, which stands at 41,877 as of Tuesday, is the highest in Europe. Polling indicates lockdown measure have majority support, but that trust in government messaging has fallen.

“Most people know how to prevent spread and, most importantly, how to prevent spread around older or more vulnerable friends and relatives,” Jennifer Cole, a biological anthropologist at Royal Holloway University, told the AP. “In essence, the government is saying, ‘Stay sober, stay sensible and the venues can stay open.’ It’s a carrot to encourage responsible behavior.”

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said in a televised briefing that despite slow increases over the summer, cases are now doubling every week. Infection rates are on the rise across age groups, Whitty added. The U.K. last week put its seven-day average of daily deaths at 21.

“This is not someone else’s problem,” Whitty said, according to the AP. “This is all of our problem.”

Source: The Hill

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