Wed | Oct 21, 2020

Some UK bars to close early amid rising COVID-19 infections

Published:Thursday | September 17, 2020 | 9:44 AM
In this handout photo provided by UK Parliament, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons in London, Wednesday, September 16, 2020. (Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Britain imposed tougher restrictions Thursday on people and businesses in parts of northeastern England as the nation attempts to stem the spread of COVID-19 before the colder winter months.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons that the new measures would include a ban on residents socialising with people outside their own households, ordering leisure and entertainment venues to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and restricting bars and restaurants to table service only.

He also promised 2.7 billion pounds to support the National Health Service this winter.

The battle against coronavirus is not over, and while we strain every sinew to spring free from its clutches, with winter on the horizon we must prepare, bolster our defences and come together once again against this common foe,″ Hancock said.

The comments came after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that authorities will have to impose tougher measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 and “protect” the Christmas holidays.

In a piece published in The Sun newspaper, he said that the only way to be certain the country can enjoy the winter holidays “is to be tough now.’’

“So if we can grip it now,″ Johnson said, Britain can "stop the surge, arrest the spike, stop the second hump of the dromedary, flatten the second hump.”

Over the past three days, opposition lawmakers have criticised Johnson’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis and said his government lacked a cohesive plan to tackle a second wave of the pandemic.

A shortage of testing capacity is a particular concern, with people around the country complaining they were unable to book appointments for tests or directed to testing centers far from their homes.

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