British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a new national suspension for England until at least mid-February to combat a rapidly spreading new version of coronavirus.
Johnson said the country is in “a critical moment”, with cases rising rapidly in all parts of the country.
Under the new rules, which will come into force as soon as possible, primary and secondary schools and colleges will be closed for face-to-face learning with the exception of children of key workers. University students will not return until mid-February.
All important shops and personal care services such as hairdressers will be closed, and restaurants can only run pick-up services.
As of Monday, there were 26,626 COVID patients in hospitals in England, an increase of more than 30% from a week ago. It is 40% above the highest level for the first wave in the spring.