British pubs will have to close early and people who fail to obey quarantine rules will face stiff fines under new lockdown restrictions to curb a surging wave of new coronavirus infections.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to announce the new measures Tuesday, a day after the U.K.'s chief medical officers raised the nation’s COVID-19 alert level, saying the virus is in general circulation and spreading fast. Other top medical experts said Britain's number of daily new infections — which stood Monday at 4,300 — could rise as high as 50,000 a day in October if immediate action is not taken.
The prime minister's office said starting Thursday, pubs, bars and other hospitality venues will be restricted to table service only and will have to close at 10 p.m.
Johnson is due to update Parliament on the coronavirus situation Tuesday after meetings of his Cabinet and the government's crisis committee, COBRA. He will also make a televised address to the nation about efforts to combat the virus.
The U.K. has gradually been increasing restrictions as cases rise, with people barred from meeting in large groups. But the measures are far less stringent than a nationwide lockdown imposed in March that saw restrictions on movement and most businesses closed. It was eased starting in June as cases began to fall, but that trend has now been reversed.