Monday 4 January 2021 9:12 PM UTC
LONDON Jan 4: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a new national lockdown for England – with people instructed to “stay at home” as they did during last March’s first shutdown.
The prime minister revealed the action in an eight-minute TV address on Monday night, after being told that COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly in every part of the country due to the new coronavirus variant.
The public are being asked to follow the new rules, which replace the tiers system.
It is expected the new lockdown in England – the third time a national shutdown has been introduced – will last until the middle of February.
People across the whole country must now stay at home apart from five exceptions:
for work, if people cannot work from home, such as those in the construction sector or key workers
to shop for necessities such as food or medicines
to exercise once per day at a local location. This can include with one other person from outside someone’s household or support/childcare bubble
to provide care or help to vulnerable people
to attend medical appointments, get medical care or a coronavirus test, or to flee the threat of harm or violence.
All primary schools, secondary schools and colleges will move to online learning from tomorrow.
However, nurseries can remain open while childcare and support bubbles will stay in place.
Those who are judged to be clinically vulnerable are being urged to stay at home as much as possible and not go to work even if they can’t work from home.
They should only go outside for exercise or to attend health appointments.
Mr Johnson said the new coronavirus variant, judged to be between 50% and 70% more transmissible, was spreading at a “frustrating and alarming” speed.
The prime minister warned this means “you are much, much more likely to catch the virus and pass it on”.
“As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals are under more pressure from COVID than at any time since the start of the pandemic,” he added.
In England alone, the number of COVID patients in hospitals is now more than 40% higher than the peak of the first wave of coronavirus infections last April, with the number of deaths up by 20% over the past week, Mr Johnson said.
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