England is to go into a second national lockdown this Thursday, Boris Johnson has confirmed.
Speaking in a delayed press conference this evening, the Prime Minister said that the country faced no choice because “unless we act we could see deaths running at several thousand a day”.
The new lockdown will only apply in England and will start at 0.01am this Thursday morning, November 5th, and last until December 2nd initially.
The new ‘Tier 4’ changes will mean:
- Pubs and bars must close, although takeaway and delivery services will be allowed
- All non-essential shops must close but supermarkets can stay open
- Schools and universities will remain open
- Places of worship will be open for private prayer, but not services
- People can exercise outdoors and travel to work if they cannot work from home
- Leisure and entertainment services must close, including gyms
- Households are now banned from mixing indoors
- Outbound international travel banned, except for work purposes
- Travel within the UK will be banned, except for work
Johnson said the furlough scheme – which was due to finish today – would now be extended to cover the period of lockdown.
The new regulations will be published to Parliament on Monday, and MPs will vote on them on Wednesday.
The Government had repeatedly insisted it wanted to avoid another national lockdown and were instead favouring a strategy of local, tiered lockdowns.
But last night the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) committee released papers that showed they warned ministers a fortnight ago that the number of infections and hospital admissions were outstripping the “reasonable worst-case scenario”, which is used by officials and the NHS to plan ahead.
And a leaked internal NHS report warned that Greater Manchester could see 371 patients in intensive care by the end of November, 100 more than the region’s 271 capacity.
The Government today said that a further 326 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, with 21,915 more cases.
Sir Patrick Vallance, chief scientific adviser, said that “in terms of deaths over the winter there’s the potential for this to be twice as bad, or more, compared to the first wave”.