UK nixes Christmas gatherings, shuts London shops over virus

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Christmas gatherings can’t go ahead and non-essential shops must close in London and much of southern England as he imposed a new, higher level of coronavirus restrictions to curb sharply spreading infections. Johnson said the capital and other areas in southern England will move to an even stricter Tier 4 alert category that requires non-essential shops, hairdressers and indoor leisure venues to close after the end of business hours Saturday. Johnson also said that a planned five-day easing of socializing rules that would allow up to three households to meet in “Christmas bubbles” will be canceled for Tier 4 areas.