Johnson announces new national lockdown

Following increasing pressure, the Prime Minister has announced a national lockdown and instructed people to stay at home to control the spread of coronavirus.

The decision, called for by leading healthcare professionals and opposition politicians, follows a rapid rise in infections, hospital admissions and case rates across the country, meaning that hospitals across England are now under more pressure than they have been at any other point throughout the pandemic.

On 4 January, there were 26,626 Covid patients in hospital in England, an increase of over 30 per cent in one week, and the April 2020 hospital admissions peak has now been surpassed by 40 per cent.

The four UK Chief Medical Officers have advised that the coronavirus threat level should move from level four to level five, indicating that if action is not taken NHS capacity may be overwhelmed within 21 days. Following that advice, Boris Johnson has told the public to follow full lockdown rules, meaning that all primary schools, secondary schools and colleges will move to remote learning, except for the children of key workers and vulnerable children, and that people will only be allowed to leave their homes to shop for basic necessities, meet with a support bubble or childcare bubble, seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm, and go to work if you cannot reasonably do so from home.

Indoor and outdoor sports facilities including sports courts, gyms, golf courses, swimming pools, and riding arenas must also close. Places of worship can also remain open, but you may only visit with your household.

On the topic of school closures, Johnson announced that A-Levels and GCSEs will be cancelled, although vocational exams will go ahead.