National Lockdown to come into force from Thursday

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that England will go into a second national lockdown that will last for a month. He ended his brief with the all too familiar “Stay at home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives” mantra.

Hospitality: All pubs and restaurants are set to close, though takeaways and deliveries will be permitted.

Retail: All non-essential retail to close, though supermarkets can still sell non-essential goods. Garden centres can stay open.

Manufacturing and construction: No change for COVID safe work environments.

At home: There will be no mixing of people inside homes, except for childcare and other forms of support (e.g. support bubbles.) Overnight stays away from home will be allowed only for work purposes.

Travel: Outbound international travel will be banned, except for work. Travel within the UK will be discouraged, except for work.

Courts, schools, and universities will remain open. Uni students living away from home will not be able to return home until the end of the term before Christmas.

Outdoor exercise and recreation will be encouraged. Outdoor playgrounds can stay open.

Private prayer will continue in places of worship, but not services.

Sport: The UK government has confirmed the Premier League – and all ‘elite sport’ – can continue during the lockdown. All sport and leisure facilities, including gyms, must close.

The regulations will be published on Tuesday, and MPs will vote on them on Wednesday, unlike the previous lockdown, where no vote was required.

The PM stated that the furlough scheme would be extended to cover the period affected by the new lockdown.

“Christmas is going to be different this year, perhaps very different”, but by implementing the lockdown he envisaged less disruption over the Christmas period.

The prime minister was due to lead a news conference at 4pm but this was delayed until 5pm and was subsequently further postponed to 6:30pm. It eventually started at 6:50pm. England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty and the government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance joined him in the briefing.

Chris Whitty stated that despite the effort put in by the UK’s population, there has been a steady increase in the spread of COVID-19 across the whole country.

Sir Patrick Vallance said that the current measures in place have suppressed the rate of the spread of COVID-19, but it is none-the-less still spreading – the second wave could be twice as bad as the first wave if further measures aren’t implemented.

PM Johnson said that the regional tier approach was the right thing to do to protect jobs and livelihoods and mental health. Johnson said, “We have to be humbled in the face of nature and the virus is spreading faster than the reasonable worst-case scenario.” He continued to say that failure to control the spread of COVID-19, would lead to the NHS to have to pick and choose who to treat and who not to treat.

The second wave is expected to be more deadly than the first with COVID-19 currently spreading “significantly” faster through England than even the government’s predicted “worst-case” scenario. One government prediction shows 4,000 daily deaths. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) says there are about four times as many people catching COVID-19 than previously anticipated.

Government scientific advisors have been pressing for a short, planned lockdown such as this – a “circuit-breaker” – since September 21st, a full 6 weeks ago. This was also suggested by Labour Leader, Sir Kier Starmer, other members of the opposition, and indeed some of the government’s own MPs.

A further 326 COVID-19 related deaths have been announced in the UK. It brings the UK death toll to 46,555. The total number of cases since the pandemic began has reached 1,011,660.

New national restrictions from gov.uk

Main image credit: kjpargeter
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