By Rachael Grealish
It’s official – England will be entering into a second lockdown the Prime Minister has announced.
Speaking from Downing Street today, Saturday October 31, Boris Johnson has said this measure is now ‘pragmatic’ and from Thursday November 5, the country will enter a month-long lockdown.
The Prime Minister said: “You must stay at home, you may only leave home for specific reasons, including education, work.
“I’m afraid non essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will all be closed, though, click and collect services, will continue and essential shops will remain open.
“Pubs, bars, restaurants, must close, except for takeaway and delivery services.”
The PM was joined by chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, and Sir Patrick Vallance, over two hours after the announcement was planned.
Chris Whitty kicked off explaining: “Across virtually the entire country now, there is a significant rate of increase.”
Data from the Office National Statistics, which is the official data, shows that the prevalence of this disease has been going up, extremely rapidly over the last few weeks.
In England, there is now around, 50,000, new cases a day, and that is rising, he said.
Whitty added: “If we do nothing, the inevitable result will means these numbers will go up and they will eventually exceed the peak that we saw in spring of this year.
“We now have several hospitals with more inpatients with COVID than we had during the peak in the spring.”
The PM conceded the local lockdown and tier system has not worked as he said: “Our hope was that by strong local action strong local leadership, we could get the rates of infection down, whether disease was surging and address the problem, thereby across the whole country.
“As we’ve also seen from those charts, we’ve got to be humble in the face of nature, and in this country.
“Alas, as across much of Europe, the virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst case scenario of our scientific advisors, whose models now suggests that unless we act, we could see deaths in this country running at several thousand a day, a peak of mortality, alas, bigger than the one we saw in April.”
Unlike in Spring, when the UK went into its first lockdown, nurseries, schools, universities, courts and Parliament will remain open, however all non-essential shops, pubs and restaurants (except for takeaway and deliveries) must close.
The furlough system will also be extended until December as businesses must close.
Previously the PM had hope for return to ‘normality’ for the festive season, but has admitted: “Christmas is going to be different this year, perhaps very different, but it’s my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action, wee can allow families across the country to be together.”
As for healthcare Johnson stressed unless a person is told to do so by a medical professional they should still attend all appointments and use the NHS appropriately.
Johnson ended his statement saying: “We’re not going back to the full scale lockdown of March and April, the measures that I’ve outlined are far less primitive and less restrictive.
“Though, I’m afraid, from Thursday, the basic message is the same: Stay at home, protect the NHS, and save lives.”
Lockdown 2.0 comes after the UK has now recorded more than 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, Reuters reports, citing government figures.
“Between 31 January and 31 October 2020, there have been 1,011,660 people who have had a confirmed positive test result,” the government said.
Cases rose by 21,915 from yesterday and the death toll, unfortunately, increased by 326.
The UK has become the second European country after Spain to pass the devastating 1 milestone cases milestone.
Further clarifications on the lockdown measures are expected to be released early next week.