Quarter of UK population to be under lockdown

The UK government's COVID-19 watchlist has been expanded from 58 to 92, including all boroughs of London, as the rate of infection continues to rise across Britain.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he has spoken to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and urged him to impose a ban on the UK capital's estimated 9 million residents mixing between households as he criticised the government over a lack of adequate coronavirus testing facilities.

According to estimates, this means more than a quarter of the UK population is set to be under coronavirus lockdown rules as new measures come in force this weekend.

The total number of people across the UK living under stricter rules will stand at 17 million from this weekend.

From Saturday in England, households in Leeds, Wigan, Stockport and Blackpool will be banned from mixing in each other's homes or gardens. In Wales, Llanelli will be subject to new rules, with Cardiff and Swansea following from Sunday. Meeting between households indoors has already been banned in Scotland.

In England, the "rule of six" and a 10pm closing time for pubs and restaurants applies nationally. Besides, extra restrictions have been imposed in several other areas including large parts of north-east and north-west England, West Yorkshire and the Midlands where the infection rate is higher.

Meanwhile, thousands of anti-lockdown demonstrators turned up at Trafalgar Square in London on Saturday for a so-called "We Do Not Consent" rally to protest against restrictions imposed to check the spread of coronavirus, including the current "rule of six" which limits gatherings to a maximum of five people.

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