England is imposing strict lockdown measures until mid-February as the country attempts to stop the continued spread of the new and more contagious strain of the coronavirus.
"It's been both frustrating and alarming to see the speed with which the new variant is spreading. Our scientists have confirmed this new variant is between 50% and 70% more transmissible,” British Prime Minister Bortis Johnson said on Monday.
The new lockdown measures, which will take immediate effect, include the closing secondary and primary schools and universities for face-to-face learning.
People are only allowed to leave their homes for essentials, such as shopping for food and medical needs, work, and exercise.
However, nurseries and places of worship will remain open.
International departures are allowed but limited to people with a “legally permitted reason” to leave the country.
The UK had earlier imposed lockdown measures in London and southeast England.
Now, the lockdown restrictions are implemented in the whole country.
Johnson said this is "a pivotal moment” for the country. According to CNN, the UK has been tallying more than 50,000 new cases of COVID-19 daily for almost a week.
The UK is hoping its vaccination program will help them move out of its current health crisis. The country is first in the world to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine; more than one million people have gotten the vaccine in the country.
The first doses of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine were also administered this week.
As of January 1, more than 30 countries have already reported cases of the new COVID-19 variant.