British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said England is adopting a national lockdown that he hopes will be tough enough to contain a new, highly contagious variant of Covid-19.
People can only leave their homes to shop for essentials, work if they can’t from home, exercise, go to the doctor’s and escape domestic abuse, he said in an announcement Monday evening. Primary schools, secondary schools and colleges will also move to remote learning Tuesday, except in rare cases, he said.
“I completely understand the inconvenience and distress this change will cause millions of people and parents up and down the country,” Johnson said. “The problem isn’t that schools are unsafe for children … the problem is that schools may act as vectors of transmission, causing the virus to spread between households.”
The U.K.’s chief medical officers recommended the country move to alert level 5, meaning that if the country doesn’t take action the National Health Service capacity “may be overwhelmed in 21 days,” Johnson said.