LONDON

Millions of Brits have started to stay at home as a second national lockdown to curb resurging coronavirus infections kicked in on Thursday.

Under the restrictions, people are asked not to leave their homes unless necessary, work from home if they can, and avoid meeting more than one person at a time.

Non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants, and gyms will remain closed until the end of the lockdown on Dec. 2.

The new measures come into effect amid a second wave of the pandemic that has brought about a sharp spike in both infections and deaths over the past few weeks.

Government data released on Wednesday showed a further 25,177 people tested positive for COVID-19 across the UK over the past 24 hours, the second highest figure on record, bringing the total close to 1.1 million (1,099,059).

A further 492 fatalities raised the death toll to 47,742.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he was “not prepared to take a risk with the lives of the British people,” stressing that without a fresh lockdown there would be deaths “on a grievous scale.”

He said the National Health Service (NHS) would likely be in “extraordinary trouble” next month without the restrictions.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to make an announcement on the furlough scheme, under which the government pays 80% of the salaries of people who lose their jobs due to the lockdowns.

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