Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a new lockdown in England that will come into effect in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
This follows First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement of a Scottish lockdown, beginning at midnight tonight.
The UK has also moved to Covid alert level 5, meaning that if action is not taken there is a risk that healthcare services will be overwhelmed.
Under the new restrictions, people will only be permitted to leave their homes for essential purposes, including work that cannot be done from home, exercise, essential shopping, seeking medical care, and fleeing domestic violence.
Schools and colleges across England will move to remote learning until at least mid-Febraury, with exceptions for vulnerable children and children of key workers.
Johnson added that it would not be “fair” for exams to go ahead in the summer and that the government would liase with Ofqual to determine how to move forward.
“The problem is not that schools are unsafe for children,” he explained, but that schools “…may act as vectors for transmission.”
The past few weeks have seen a sharp rise in confirmed cases of Covid-19, with the number of cases currently at 519 per 100,000 people and an average of 2,550 new admissions to hospital each day.
This increase has been attributed to the new variant of the virus, which the PM described tonight as “…between 50 per cent and 70 per cent more transmissible.”
Clinically vulnerable people will also be advised to begin shielding again.
Johnson did not state when these measures will be lifted.
Image: Ben Shread via Wikipedia