‘Stay at home’ Boris Johnson orders third national lockdown

The prime minister announced a new national lockdown last night, with people once again being urged to stay at home, save lives and protect the NHS.

The third national lockdown will come into effect immediately, meaning the tier system will be scrapped following a surge in cases, attributed to the new strain emerging in Kent. 

Mr Johnson appeared hopeful that the measures could be lifted by mid-February, but was cautious not to make any promises.

The restrictions will mean all schools, except nurseries and special schools, will be closed and non-essential shops and gyms will also be closed.

People must remain indoors except:

  • For key workers and those who cannot work from home
  • To carry out vital shopping
  • To seek medical appointments or need to flee from domestic abuse
  • To exercise with just one other person

The police have been given powers to fine people £2,000 for breaking rules and £10,000 for businesses.

Childcare and support bubbles will remain in place, and shielders are still being asked to stay at home.

Earlier, Nicola Sturgeon announced a similar nationwide lockdown in Scotland and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called on Boris Johnson to do the same.

After the announcement, Mr Starmer told Sky News he will support the measures.

He said: “What’s important is that everyone follows the guidance. This was sadly inevitable and we just have to make this work in the coming weeks.”

The UK was earlier raised into alert level 5, meaning the NHS may soon not be able to deal with the strain.

UK Chief Medical Officers warned of a ‘material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed’ in 21 days.

Yesterday, the UK recorded 58,784 new cases, the seventh day in a row that new cases exceeded 50,000.

Executives in Northern Ireland are currently discussing further measures.

First Minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster said schools may need to be closed, and that any necessary actions will be taken, based on medical evidence.

Main photo credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

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