Boris Johnson has announced that England is going into a third national lockdown – but a much stricter one than we saw in the autumn. The government has also been forced to accept that A-levels and GCSEs will not be going ahead this year because all schools will close from tomorrow, save for vulnerable children and the children of key workers.
In a televised address to the nation, the Prime Minister asked people to stay at home from Monday, with a legal requirement to do so being introduced in regulations this week. The lockdown will run until the middle of February. He explained that scientists had concluded the new variant was 50-70 per cent more transmissible and that hospitals are under the worst pressure of the entire pandemic. He argued that a lockdown which was ‘tough enough’ to slow the spread was necessary until the vaccine had been sufficiently rolled out. He said:
With most of the country already under extreme measures it is clear that we need to do more together.
People will only be allowed to leave their homes for a limited number of reasons (you can read the full rules here), including going to work if it is impossible for them to work from home (such as construction workers and cleaners); to shop for necessities like food and medicine; to exercise locally with just one other person from outside their household and limited to once a day; to provide care or help to a vulnerable person; to attend medical appointments or escape violence and abuse.
Outdoor sports venues will close, outdoor team sports will not be permitted, but playgrounds will remain open. Takeaway and click and collect sales of alcohol are to be banned because people have been tending to collect drinks and then congregate outside venues in a way that they don’t when ordering food.