Due to the spread of Covid-19 variants which may be up to 70% more transmissible and which risk the NHS being overwhelmed in 21 days, the Prime Minister has announced a new national lockdown.
This means that people must stay at home, and should only leave home to:
- shop for essentials, for you or for a vulnerable person
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
- exercise outside with your household, support bubble, or one other person. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
- attend a medical appointment, seek medical assistance, or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm, including domestic abuse
- attend education or childcare, for those eligible
Other headline measures:
- The clinically vulnerable and extremely vulnerable must shield
- There will be remote learning until February half term for all children who are not vulnerable or children of key workers. Early years settings will remain open
- Exams will not go ahead as normal. Ofqual has been tasked with finding alternative arrangements.
There is a clear difference between today's announcement and those made last year. The Government is now rolling out the biggest vaccination programme in British history, which has already seen us vaccinate more people than the rest of Europe combined.
The NHS expects to have offered the first vaccine dose to everyone in the four top priority groups by the middle of February, which means all residents in a care home for older adults and their carers, everyone over the age of 70, all frontline health and social care workers, and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.
This group of 13.5 million people account for almost 90% of the tragic coronavirus deaths we have seen over the past year. Once they have all been vaccinated, we will be able to lift many of these restrictions and provide a clear timetable for the normality we all crave.
Full details of the lockdown restrictions can be found here.
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