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A new four-week lockdown has begun in England, with people told to stay at home and non-essential shops, pubs and gyms ordered to close.

 

The new rules ban households from mixing indoors or in private gardens, unless in a support bubble. Police have warned that people who commit the most “egregious” breaches of the rules will face stiff fines. The lockdown will “expire automatically” on 2 December, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

 

On Wednesday, MPs backed the new lockdown which aims to combat a surge in coronavirus cases.The lockdown, which came into effect at midnight, replaces the three tiers of regional restrictions that were previously in place across England. MPs are set to vote on the next steps needed to tackle the virus before the four weeks are up on 2 December.

 

Mr Johnson told MPs that a second lockdown was “not something any of us wanted to do” but insisted the restrictions represented “the best and safest path for our country”. On Wednesday, the UK recorded a further 492 coronavirus deaths – the highest daily figure since 19 May – and 25,177 confirmed cases.

 

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He said: “Every one of us has a responsibility to understand what the regulations are and abide by those regulations”, adding that people who flouted them would be “breaking the law and endangering people’s lives”.Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to make a statement in the House of Commons later on Thursday outlining what economic support will be available to businesses and jobs during the lockdown.Shoppers in England flocked to stores to make last-minute purchases on Wednesday, with some retailers extending their opening hours to cope with the huge demand.

Unlike the first lockdown in March, schools, universities, and nurseries will remain open, and people will be able to meet another person