Northeast England has been placed under strict pandemic restrictions amid a “concerning rise” in Covid-19 infection rates, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced Thursday.
The measures will apply to seven areas — including the cities of Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham — and will affect over 1.5 million people.
The restrictions include a ban on socializing outside households or support bubbles, and a mandated closing time of 10pm for all bars, pubs, restaurants, and leisure centers.
Hospitality venues will only be allowed to offer table service.
The measures come into effect as of midnight Friday morning local time. With winter approaching, Hancock stressed the need to take “immediate action” against the virus.
England has reported a total of 326,425 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.