The Prime Minister has announced England is to go into a full lockdown from Thursday (5 November).
In an apparent move away from the regional ‘tier’ system the tighter restrictions will apply to the whole of the country.
Boris Johnson addressed the nation during Saturday (31 October) to announce the new lockdown which is to last until 2 December.
The Prime Minister was joined by Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser.
Prof Whitty presented data showing how the number of hospital admissions, with Covid-19 symptoms, across England was increasing rapidly – especially amongst those aged 85 and over.
More than 2,000 people in the North West are in hospital with Covid-19 and the number is coming close to the Spring peak in the region.
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has more than 100 people being treated for coronavirus and this is approaching more than half the amount seen during the previous Covid-19 lockdown.
The Prime Minister said the overwhelming of the NHS would be a ‘moral’ disaster.
He said: “Doctors and nurses would be forced to decide which patients got oxygen. They would choose who would live, and who would die.
“It would also deprive thousands of non-Covid patients of essential care.
“The NHS would not be there for us, if we let this virus grow.
“Now is the time to take action, because there is no alternative.”
Preston, and Lancashire, have been in tier-three restrictions since 17 October, and before this Preston had been in tighter localised restrictions since August because of high coronavirus infection rates.
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Preston saw 86 new coronavirus cases confirmed during Saturday (31 October), while South Ribble saw 52 new cases.
The government’s new restrictions, from Thursday, will see pubs, bars and hospitality and leisure venues forced to close and non-essential shops also closing. Premises are allowed to continue with takeaway and delivery services. Supermarkets will remain open.
The Prime Minister said the furlough scheme was now being extended until early December in line with the lockdown.
Schools, colleges and universities are to remain open.
The PM said: “We cannot let this virus damage our children’s future more than it already has.”
He went on to praise the work of teachers in keeping schools open.
The Prime Minister stressed the ‘stay at home’ message used in March was now active again, with anyone who can work from home to do so.
You will only be allowed to leave your home for education, work, exercise and recreation outdoors, medical reasons such as appointments, to escape harm or injury, to shop for food or essentials and if you’re providing care for vulnerable people or to do volunteering.
Mixing between households indoors or outdoors will be banned. The government said an exception will be when two people from two households meet in a public open space, this does not include private gardens.
Single-adult households can still form support bubbles with one other single-adult household.
Childcare bubbles – which allow informal childcare for kids under 14 – will remain as they are now.
The more than two million people classed as extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 are not being told to shield again, but are being advised to limit contact.
You can watch the full press conference below
The Prime Minister will address Parliament on Monday, the measures will be voted on by MPs during Wednesday before coming into force for Bonfire Night (Thursday 5 November) at 00.01.
The government will review the coronavirus data ahead of 2 December and then look at returning to the three-tier approach depending on infection rate data in local authority areas.
Boris Johnson said ‘Christmas will be different this year’ but gave no further information about what the restrictions are due to be by the festive period.
He said he hoped the nation would be in a more positive place by the Spring, with more rapid testing tools available. He said ‘whole towns and even whole cities’ could be tested and the Army is being brought in to assist with the logistics of the mass-testing rollout.
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