British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a four week nationwide lockdown in the wake of rapidly rising coronavirus infections. 

The second stay-at-home lockdown across England will start from next Thursday and go on for four weeks until at least the start of December.

The United Kingdom, which has the biggest official death toll in Europe from the Covid-19 virus, is grappling with over 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day.

At a news conference at his 10, Downing Street residence, Johnson said, "Now is the time to take action because there's no alternative. We have got to be humble in the face of nature. In this country, alas, as in much of Europe, the virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst-case scenario of our scientific advisers."

Clarifying that the second lockdown would be less "restrictive" than the one earlier this year, Boris said: "You must stay at home, you must only leave home for education, work if you cannot work from home, recreational exercise with one person from another household or your household, and to escape injury or harm, to shop for food and essentials or provide care for vulnerable people as a volunteer."

The lockdown plans will be tabled in the British Parliament next week for a debate and vote by Wednesday, for them to come in effect from Thursday.