London: Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced a month-long COVID-19 lockdown across England to prevent a “medical and moral disaster” for the National Health Service.
He said Christmas may be “very different” but he hoped taking action now would mean families can gather.
Pubs, restaurants, gyms and non-essential shops will have to close for four weeks from Thursday, he said.
But unlike the restrictions in spring, schools, colleges and universities can stay open.
After December 2, the restrictions would be eased and regions would go back to the tiered system, he said.
Mr Johnson said: “Christmas is going to be different this year, perhaps very different, but it’s my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now we can allow families across the country to be together.”
He said hospitals even in the south-west of England, where cases are among the lowest, will run out of capacity in weeks.
“Doctors and nurses would be forced to choose which patients to treat, who would get oxygen and who wouldn’t, who would live and who would die,” Johnson said.