National lockdown announced following record number of coronavirus cases

Prime Minister Boris Johnson making a televised address to the nation.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson making a televised address to the nation from 10 Downing Street. - Credit: PA - Credit: PA

A new national lockdown has been announced meaning people will only be able to leave their homes for limited reasons.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the lockdown last night (Monday) and the new measures are expected to stay in place until mid-February.

Schools have now closed to most pupils and students will be taught remotely until February half-term.

People who are clinically vulnerable and who were previously told to shield should stay at home and only leave for medical appointments and exercise, the Prime Minister said.

The UK reported a record 58,784 cases on Monday, as well as a further 407 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

Mr Johnson addressed the nation after chief medical officers recommended the Covid threat level be increased to five - its highest level.

Level five means the NHS may soon be unable to handle a further sustained rise in cases.

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He said: "As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals are under more pressure from Covid than at any time since the start of the pandemic.

"In England alone, the number of Covid patients in hospitals has increased by nearly a third in the last week, to almost 27,000.

"That number is 40 per cent higher than the first peak in April.

"On December 29, more than 80,000 people tested positive for Covid across the UK – a new record.

"The number of deaths is up by 20 per cent over the last week and will sadly rise further.

"With most of the country already under extreme measures, it is clear that we need to do more, together, to bring this new variant under control while our vaccines are rolled out."

The Prime Minster ordered people to stay indoors other than for limited exceptions - such as essential medical needs, food shopping, exercise, work that cannot be done at home, or to escape domestic abuse.

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable pupils and the children of critical workers. Early years settings remain open.

Boris Johnson stressed all care home residents and their carers, everyone aged 70 and over, all frontline health and social care workers, and the clinically extremely vulnerable will be offered one dose of a vaccine by mid-February.

While the rules become law tomorrow morning (Wednesday), people should follow them now, the PM added.

For a full list of the lockdown restrictions, log on to  www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home 


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