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England imposes harsher lockdown restrictions

The announcement follows a similar proclamation by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who has imposed a similarly strict lockdown in Scotland.

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Monday that England will be imposing their strictest coronavirus lockdown rules since March, closing all schools and allowing people to leave their homes only for essential purposes and once a day for exercise, The Guardian reports.

The announcement follows a similar proclamation by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who has imposed a similarly strict lockdown in Scotland. The UK has faced skyrocketing rates of coronavirus in recent weeks in addition to record levels of hospitalizations.

Students will transition to online learning as schools close across England, and are scheduled to return to school at February half-term. Exams are also likely to be cancelled as a result. Most university students will also be heading home, although some critical subjects such as medicine will continue in-person learning.

All non-essential businesses are being forced to close under the regulations. Pubs and restaurants may offer delivery and pick-up only, but are prohibited to allow pick-up of alcohol to avoid bargoers congregating outside of pubs.

Places of worship will remain open, subject to social distancing.

Johnson asked the public to follow the rules beginning immediately, but they will likely not be formally adopted until Wednesday.

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