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England to end locking, switch to COVID-19 restrictions

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson’s office said on Saturday that he plans to end his country’s national lockdown early next month and move England towards a strictly differentiated system to further combat COVID-19, Reuters reports.

England launched a month-long national lockdown in November and plans to lift these restrictions from 2 December. Instead of a comprehensive lockdown, the country will enforce restrictions specific to certain regions, Reuters reported.

“The Prime Minister and his scientific advisers are aware that the virus is still present – and without regional restrictions, it can quickly run out of control again before vaccines and mass testing have had an effect,”

; a spokesman for the outlet said. “It would jeopardize the progress the country has made and again risk intolerable pressure on the NHS (National Health Service).”

The country was divided into three levels before the recent closure, which closed non-essential businesses and only allowed people to leave their homes for work and other necessities. Since then, it has seen a decline in the number of infections in the country, although officials are still seeking stricter preventive measures.

Johnson is ready to roll out a new COVID winter plan on Monday after discussing it with cabinet members and presenting the plan to Parliament. On Thursday, ministers are set to announce which regions to place at which level, Reuters reported.

Legislators will also have the opportunity to vote on the system before it is enforced. Some lawmakers have opposed measures that would shut down businesses and potentially negatively impact the economy, Reuters reported.

The United Kingdom has the highest number of COVID-19s in Europe.

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