London, 22 September 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Pubs, restaurants and bars across England will have to close at 10pm (2100 GMT) from Thursday, the British government is set to announce, as it attempts to curb a recent jump in the number of new Covid-19 infections.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to outline the new measures, which include limiting pubs and restaurants to table service only, in an address to the nation on Tuesday evening.
The new rules come after the country’s chief scientific advisor, Patrick Vallance, warned that Britain could face up to 50,000 new coronavirus infections every day by next month unless it did more to halt the spread of the disease.
The country has reported between 3,500 and 4,000 new cases daily in recent days.
“At the moment we think the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days,” Vallance said in a speech on Monday, warning that the country could be facing 200 deaths a day by mid-November if it took no action.
At the weekend, Johnson announced plans to fine people in England who repeatedly breach social distancing rules up to 10,000 pounds (13,000 dollars) from September 28.
Parts of north-east England, Northern Ireland and Wales are already under tighter restrictions following local spikes in case numbers.
Britain has reported some 400,000 coronavirus infections since March. Its official death toll linked to Covid-19 is nearly 42,000, Europe’s highest total.