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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: Leon Neal/WPA Pool/Getty Images

England will impose a strengthened version of an earlier three-tiered system of local restrictions to curb COVID-19 when the national lockdown ends Dec. 2, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office has announced.

Why it matters: Johnson, who's expected to outline this "COVID winter plan" Monday, is being urged by scientists not to relax rules over Christmas and pressed by his Conservative Party members of parliament to discontinue strict measures that impact local economies, The Guardian notes.

By the numbers: Official figures show the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in the U.K. fell 13% in the seven days to Saturday, with just over 149,000 new cases confirmed.

  • 2,861 deaths from COVID-19 were reported in the same period — a 0.6% decrease.
  • Hospitalizations rose 6.1% in seven days, with 12,101 coronavirus patients admitted to the hospital.

Background: Under the highest level of the previous three-tier system, bars not serving meals closed and households were prohibited from mixing indoors or in some outdoor spaces.

  • The Liverpool city region and Greater Manchester in northern England were among the first to enter level three restrictions, prompting their mayors to complain that the rules were biased in favor of southern areas.

Flashback: Coronavirus pandemic's second wave strikes a divided U.K.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
18 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus hotspots far outpacing Europe's

Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University, Census Bureau, United Nations; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

America's coronavirus outbreak has surpassed Europe's.

Why it matters: It wasn't long ago that public health experts were pointing to Europe as a warning sign for the U.S. But the U.S. now has a higher per capita caseload than the EU ever has during its recent surge.

The biggest pandemic labor market drags

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

State economies most exposed to industries that have been slow to bounce back from the pandemic shutdown — like tourism — are seeing the worst labor market pain.

Why it matters: Even states that have the coronavirus more under control than others are taking harder economic hits, thanks to their dependence on sectors slammed by the pandemic.

12 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations keep breaking records

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S. has reached new record highs every day since Nov. 10.

Why it matters: Governors in states like North Dakota and Illinois have been warning about overburdened hospitals and limited beds for weeks.