UK set for new restrictions as COVID-19 cases surge

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will impose new curbs on bars and restaurants to tackle a swiftly accelerating second coronavirus (COVID-19) wave.

Top officials say Johnson will tighten measures in England while stopping short of another full lockdown like he imposed in March.

He will address parliament at 1130 GMT and then speak to the nation at 1900 GMT after government scientists warned that the death rate would soar without urgent action.

The PM would also order all pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality sites across England to start closing at 10 p.m. from Thursday

“There is going to be a shift in emphasis. If it is possible for people to work from home, we are going to encourage them to do so,” Michael Gove, the minister for the cabinet office, told Sky News.

The new curbs will restrict the hospitality sector to table service only, though Gove said he wanted those who could not work from home, for example in manufacturing, construction and retail, to continue to work from COVID-secure workplaces.

“Schools will also stay open,’’ he said.

The UK already has the biggest official COVID-19 death toll in Europe and the fifth-largest in the world, while it is borrowing record amounts to pump emergency money through the damaged economy.

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