London And Other English Cities Declared To Be At High Alert For COVID-19

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Commuters walk over London Bridge toward the City of London during the morning rush hour on Thursday. The city and other large areas are now under a high alert for the coronavirus, as health officials enact new restrictions.

Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images


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Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images


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«Coronavirus is deadly and it’s now spreading exponentially in the U.K.,» Hancock said. «We must act to prevent more hospitalizations, more deaths and more economic damage, because we know from recent history that when this virus keeps growing, unless we act together to get it under control, this is the result.»

Noting that the virus has not spread evenly throughout England, Hancock said the localized alerts are based on «a detailed picture of where and how this virus is spreading,» gleaned from testing and tracing data from the National Health Service.

Businesses and other venues in an area under high COVID alert can continue to operate with safety restrictions, and schools can remain open. But people face new limits on their social activities.

«The central change is that people cannot now meet other households socially indoors,» Hancock said. «This applies in any setting — at home or in a restaurant, or in any other venue.»

The high alert also means people cannot gather in groups larger than six, indoors or outdoors.

«Although you may continue to travel to open venues, you should reduce the number of journeys where possible,» Hancock said.

The decision to put more areas under the limitations, he said, is among the toughest a government must make, outside of a war.

«We make these decisions with a heavy heart, with the sole aim of steering our nation through troubled waters,» Hancock said.

  • Coronavirus in U.K.

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