The UK risks “many more deaths, many more families losing loved ones before their time” if people fail to do their part, the prime minister said in a televised address on Tuesday evening. “The tragic reality of having Covid is that your mild cough can be someone else’s death knell.”
The call for the country to work together to get through winter came after Johnson ordered restaurants and bars to close earlier each night from Sept. 24 and scrapped plans to allow live audiences back into sporting events next month as his government tries to halt a surge of infections.
There will be tougher enforcement, Johnson said, with higher fines for people failing to wear face coverings where they are required by the rules. And the rules could be tightened further if the virus continues to run out of control.
“If we were forced into a new national lockdown, that would threaten not just jobs and livelihoods but the loving human contact on which we all depend,” he said.
The measures mark a reversal of government efforts to reopen the economy after the first national lockdown shuttered social and commercial activity in March, sparking the country’s deepest recession in more than 100 years.