By Rachael Grealish
England will enter its third full national lockdown after COVID cases surged, due to the new variant, the Prime Minister announced.
From later this week the entire public must follow the government message, once again, of ‘stay at home’, it was confirmed today, Monday January 4.
Speaking from 10 Downing Street Boris Johnson said: “It is clear we need to do more together.
“England must enter national lockdown tough enough to contain this variant.”
This means, as with the first lockdown, people must only leave home if absolutely necessary, the pm said.
He said: “People May only leave home for limited reasons – shop for essentials, work if you cannot work from home, exercise, seek medical care, or to escape domestic abuse.”
Schools will be closed for children of all ages, except for those who are vulnerable or children of key workers, and nurseries are staying open.
Johnson explained: “We have been doing everything within our power to keep the schools open.”
He continued to explain ‘it’s not schools are unsafe for children’ but children ‘act as vectors for transmission’.
Also exams will not go forward for school pupils this year and the Education Secretary will work to put alternative arrangements in place.
Children receiving free school meals will continue to receive them.
Along with this the government is advising people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to begin shielding again. People will shortly receive a letter on this.
These measures, which the PM said will be the ‘hardest weeks’, will be in place until mid-February and Johnson said he hopes the regions will go back ‘down the tiers’ following this time.
However, Johnson did not make any promises this would be the exact time but remained hopeful as he said ‘if things go well’ he expects to have offered the first dose to everyone in the four top priority categories.
The decision came after it was announced the daily positive COVID-19 cases is 58,784 and the daily deaths came to 407 – bringing the total deaths to 75,431 deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID test.
Hospitalisations in England have exceeded the record daily levels of the first wave, with 3,145 admissions reported for January 2, passing the previous peak of 3,099 set on April 1 last year.
The announcement England would enter a lockdown following confirmation Scotland would also enter another national lockdown earlier in the day.
Nicola Sturgeon ordered a lockdown beginning at midnight, January 5, with stay at home orders coming into force and schools shut until February 1, 2021.
The decision to go back into a national lockdown has been supported by the opposition group and its leader, Sir Keir Starmer.
Johnson left off by saying ‘Now more than ever’ it is vital to follow the rules.