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England to enter new stay at home lockdown

England to enter new stay at home lockdown

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the whole of England will enter a new national lockdown in the early hours of Tuesday morning as part of efforts to bring the Coronavirus under control.

People must stay at home except for a limited number of essential reasons, such as shopping for food and essentials, to escape harm or injury, for medical reasons, to attend or visit a place of worship, to provide care for vulnerable people or to work if unable to work from home.

People can exercise once per day in a local location with up to one other person from outside their household or support bubble.

All schools across the country will be closed and move to remote learning, except for vulnerable children and the children of key workers. Early years settings will remain open. GCSE & A-Level exams will also be cancelled this academic year, with the Education Secretary to work with Ofqual to develop alternatives. Pupils will continue to receive free school meals, where eligible, during the closure of schools.

Click and collect, takeaway and delivery services for food, drink and non-essential retail can continue to operate.

People who have been identified as 'clinically extremely vulnerable' will be contacted by letter and should begin shielding again.

Announcing the new measures, Boris Johnson said, 'I really do believe we are entering the last phase of the struggle', saying that restrictions can start to be eased from mid-February, provided positive progress with tackling the virus and the UK's vaccination programme.

The UK is also moving into Alert Level 5 - the highest level of its COVID Alert Level System following advice from the UK's Chief Medical Officers. The move to the highest alert level means that there is 'a material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed'.

The new measures come after the UK reported more than 50,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the seventh consecutive day, thought to be fuelled by the new, more transmissible variant of the virus. On Monday, a further 58,784 cases of COVID-19 were announced, while a further 407 deaths within 28 days of a positive Coronavirus test have been announced in the latest 24-hour period.

In a tweet, Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer said "These measures are necessary and we support them. The coming weeks are going to be difficult, but we must all pull together to get control of the virus and get the vaccine rolled out."

Earlier, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon announced new lockdown measures for Scotland from midnight. Wales and Northern Ireland are already under lockdown restrictions, with people required to stay at home except for a limited number of essential reasons.

 

 

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