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Londoners Hit the Town, Throng Pubs and Restaurants One Last Time Before New Lockdown

People are seen enjoying drinks before pubs close ahead of the lockdown in Soho, London, Britain, November 4, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

People are seen enjoying drinks before pubs close ahead of the lockdown in Soho, London, Britain, November 4, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Even before Wednesday, data from restaurant bookings service OpenTable showed a surge in demand for London eateries during the run-up to the new lockdown.

Londoners shrugged off a resurgent COVID-19 pandemic and flocked to pubs and restaurants on Wednesday night, hours before the introduction of a new month-long lockdown across England.

While the UK's death toll from the coronavirus rose on Wednesday by 492, the most since mid-May, London's Soho entertainment district was busy with revellers seeking one last night out before lockdown.

People will be ordered to stay at home from 0001 GMT on Thursday to combat a surge in new infections that scientists say could, if unchecked, cause more deaths than a first wave that forced a three-month lockdown earlier this year.

The United Kingdom has the biggest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19 and is grappling with more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day. Scientists warned the "worst-case" scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded without action.

Even before Wednesday, data from restaurant bookings service OpenTable showed a surge in demand for London eateries during the run-up to the new lockdown.

Several English police forces used social media to urge people going out on Wednesday night to follow social-distancing rules.

The rest of the UK - Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - have their own lockdown policies and enacted tougher health restrictions last month.


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