Europe

Eerie streets, shuttered stores: England back under lockdown amid virus surge

England is back under national lockdown, its third since the global pandemic began. Streets are once again eerily empty, shops shuttered and schools kept closed.

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Inside homes, people are bracing for at least six weeks of stay-at-home orders. Inside hospitals, overwhelmed staff are hoping that’s enough to quell the current surge.

A highly transmissible variant of the coronavirus, first detected in England in late September, is driving the current wave.

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“Let me be candid with you: This virus is out of control,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan told LBC Radio on Monday. “We have more patients in hospital in London now with covid than anytime in March, April and May during the peak. Plus, we have the additional non-covid winter pressures.”

Britain started unrolling its vaccination campaigns in December. But the promise of inoculation to curb the pandemic remains, for now, far off.

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A pedestrian crosses an almost empty street in Manchester, England.

Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

A man walks past red phone booths in London.

Matt Dunham/AP

Matt Dunham/AP

A woman stands outside a closed barber shop in London.

Kevin Coombs/Reuters

Kevin Coombs/Reuters

A pedestrian looks through the window of a bar, temporarily closed because of the coronavirus in Manchester.

Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

A butchers shop flanked by closed shops in the Broadgreen area of Liverpool.

Peter Powell/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Peter Powell/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

A pedestrian in Leadenhall Market in London.

Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

Commuters ride on a London Underground train on the Bakerloo Line.

Hollie Adams/Bloomberg News

Hollie Adams/Bloomberg News

A customer leaves a Costco store in Thurrock, east of London.

Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Commuters arrive at Waterloo station during the morning rush hour.

Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

A man walks in London during England's third lockdown.

Matt Dunham/AP

Matt Dunham/AP

Pigeons gather outside the shuttered entrance to a department store.

Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Construction workers at a building in Manchester.

Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

A paramedic stands by a line of ambulances outside the Royal London Hospital in London.

Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Pedestrians in Glasgow, Scotland.

Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images

Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images