Coronavirus: UK PM Johnson to end England’s national COVID-19 lockdown on Dec 2

Coronavirus: UK PM Johnson to end England's national COVID-19 lockdown on Dec 2

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to end an England-wide lockdown as scheduled on Dec. 2 and to announce a return to regional restrictions as statistics show coronavirus infections have stabilized.

Johnson’s office said late Saturday that the government plans to return to using a three-tiered system of localized restrictions in England, with areas facing different measures based on the severity of their outbreaks. More communities are expected to be placed in the two highest virus alert categories, Johnson’s office said in a statement.

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The government put England under a four-week lockdown that started Nov. 5. The Cabinet is scheduled to discuss the plans Sunday, and the prime minister is aiming to give Parliament the details on Monday, according to the statement.

Johnson’s office also confirmed plans to begin a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination program next month, assuming regulators approve a vaccine against the virus.

The government also will increase mass testing in an effort to suppress the virus until vaccines can be rolled out.

Johnson announced the lockdown in England on Oct. 31 after public health officials warned that an exponential rise in new confirmed coronavirus infections was threatening to overwhelm the National Health Service as the winter flu season approached. The lockdown closed non-essential business and banned most social gatherings, but schools remain open.

New known cases of COVID-19 have started to drop across the U.K., with the number of positive tests during the past seven days falling 13.8% from the week before.…

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