UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a nationwide lockdown in England due to the spread of the new, more transmissible coronavirus variant. Beginning today, residents are only permitted to leave their homes for essential activities (e.g. seeking medical care or buying basic necessities), and the restrictions are expected to remain in place through at least mid-February.
Extra: Cases of the new variant, which Johnson noted is 50-70% more transmissible than the original strain, have also been reported in several US states and over 30 countries. While details on the new strain are still emerging, health officials have said there is no evidence thus far of a higher mortality rate or a resistance to current vaccines.