Dec 14, 2020 - Health

London to close bars and restaurants as virus surge triggers toughest restrictions

A woman holds a sign saying "no more lockdowns" next to a man in a red baseball cap

Protests against coronavirus lockdowns and vaccinations in Parliament Square in London, England, on Dec. 14. Photo: David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Bars and restaurants in London and surrounding areas will be forced to close beginning Wednesday as the region is placed under England's highest alert for coronavirus restrictions, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday.

The big picture: Although Europe has beaten back a steep rise in coronavirus cases, several countries are issuing strict lockdowns over the holidays. London is seeing "very sharp, exponential rises" in coronavirus cases, and will be forced to enter the strictest of England's three-tier lockdown system, Hancock said.

  • The United Kingdom has reported the sixth-most coronavirus deaths in the world, per Johns Hopkins data.
  • The U.K. last week began to administer Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine to health care workers and the elderly after becoming the first country in the world to authorize it for emergency use.

What they're saying: "It is recommended that people should minimize travel unless it's necessary in a Tier 3 area, and should minimize travel where it's necessary to a Tier 3 area," Hancock said.

  • "We have taken this action to try to protect people and to try to slow the spread of this virus," he added.
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