The United Kingdom, which has the biggest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19, is grappling with more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day and scientists have warned the "worst case" scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded.
Johnson, at a hastily convened news conference in Downing Street after news of a lockdown leaked to local media, said that the one-month lockdown across England would kick in at a minute past midnight on Thursday morning and last until Dec. 2.
In some of the most onerous restrictions in Britain's peacetime history, people will only be allowed to leave home for specific reasons such as education, work, exercise, shopping for essentials and medicines or caring for the vulnerable.
"We must act now," Johnson said, flanked by his chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, and his chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance. "Unless we act, we could see deaths in this country running at several thousand a day."
The government will revive its emergency coronavirus wage subsidy scheme to ensure workers who are temporarily laid off during a new England-wide lockdown receive 80% of their pay, he said.
BORIS JOHNSON: And so now is the time to take action because there is no alternative. From Thursday until the start of December, you must stay at home. You may only leave home for specific reasons, including education, for work-- let's say if you cannot work from home-- for exercise and recreation outdoors with your household, or on your own with one person from another household, for medical reasons, appointments, and to escape injury or harm, to shop for food and essentials, and to provide care for vulnerable people or as a volunteer.
I'm afraid non-essential shops, leisure, and entertainment venues will all be closed.
Pubs, bars, restaurants must close, except for takeaway and delivery services.
There will be some differences compared to March. These measures, above all, will be time-limited starting Thursday the 5th of November. They'll end on Wednesday the 2nd of December, when we'll seek to ease restrictions, going back into the tiered system on a local and a regional basis, according to the latest data and trends.
Christmas is going to be different this year, perhaps very different. But it's my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now, we can allow families across the country to be together.
My priority, our priority--