Bleak start to new year for Britain as it enters third lockdown

By Estelle Shirbon and Natalie Thomas

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain began its third COVID-19 lockdown on Tuesday with citizens under orders to stay at home and the government calling for one last major national effort to stem the virus before mass vaccinations turn the tide.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak announced a new package of business grants worth 4.6 billion pounds ($6.2 billion) to help keep people in jobs and firms afloat until measures are relaxed gradually, at the earliest from mid-February but likely later.

Britain has been among the countries worst-hit by COVID-19, with the second highest death toll in