Lockdown and schools to close in England – Lockdown 3

What Boris Johnson’s announcement means.

Eve Watson www.devonlive.com 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has placed England into a third national lockdown from midnight.

Mr Johnson said earlier today that “further steps must now be taken” to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.

A No 10 spokesman said: “The spread of the new variant of Covid-19 has led to rapidly escalating case numbers across the country.

“The Prime Minister is clear that further steps must now be taken to arrest this rise and to protect the NHS and save lives.”

The new strain of the virus means cases are rapidly increasing. There were 26,626 Covid patients in hospital in England recorded on January 4, which is an increase of over 30% on the same day just one week earlier.

The peak of admissions in first wave of coronavirus was 18,974 on April 12, but the nation is now 40% above the highest level of the first wave.

It has been confirmed that the UK has increased from Alert Level 4 to 5, which is the highest level. This means there is a real risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed within 21 days without urgent action.

This comes after an announcement earlier today by Nicola Sturgeon, who said mainland Scotland will be plunged into a new national lockdown from midnight tonight for the rest of January – with schools closed.

The First Minister unveiled tougher measures to curb spiralling infection rates.

Schools across the mainland will stay closed until at least February.

The Christmas holidays had been extended until January 11, with online learning until January 15 – but children were expected to resume face-to-face lessons on January 18.

Ms Sturgeon confirmed schools will now be shut to the majority of pupils – all those except vulnerable kids and key workers’ children – until February 1.

That includes nurseries, primary and secondary schools.

Devon is currently in Tier 3 restrictions, after moving up from Tier 2 in December.

Six hospital patients in Devon who tested positive for coronavirus have died according to today’s NHS England figures.

The figures, taking into account deaths reported in the 24 hours up to 4pm on January 3, show that six deaths were confirmed across Devon and Cornwall’s hospitals.

Four were recorded at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RD&E) and two at North Devon District Hospital.

This brings the total deaths of patients with coronavirus at RD&E hospital to 165.

The announcement this evening is to try and combat the rising number of deaths and cases nationwide.

These are all the things you can and can’t do in Devon, and the rest of the nation, in lockdown.

What can I do?

You can leave the house to:

Go to work if it’s impossible to work from home, e.g. construction or critical worker who can’t work from home

To shop for necessities including food and medicine

To exercise, which can be with up to one other person from outside your household or bubble. The exercise should ideally be limited to once per day.

To provide care or help to a vulnerable person

To attend medical appointments or seek medical care or fleeing the threat of harm or violence.

Police will have legal powers to enforce through fines and dispersing orders.

All primaries, secondaries and colleges will move to remote provision from tomorrow except children of key workers and vulnerable kids who can attend in person.

Early years – e.g. nurseries, alt provision and special schools – remain open.

Childcare and support bubbles – existing rules will apply.

Nursery age, vulnerable and kids of critical workers over 5 can still attend childcare.

Students will not be able to return to uni and will be expected to study from their current residence where possible until at least mid February.

In person teaching at university only for a small number of critical courses previously announced such as those studying to work in the health service.

Business and hospitality

All non essential retail hospitality and personal care services must shut if not already/remain closed.

Restaurants and similar can continue delivery or takeaway – BUT takeaway or click and collect of alcohol will no longer be allowed.

Essential retailers e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, builders merchants may stay open.

Places of worship open for individual prayer and communal worship but obey social contact rules and only attend with household and support bubble.

Zoos and other animal attractions have to close.

Playgrounds remain open.

Outdoor sports venues including gyms, tennis courts and golf courses must close.

Outdoor team sports will not be permitted.

Elite sport – Premier League etc – that will continue as can PE lessons and sports clubs for children attending school (i.e. critical workers / vulnerable kids).

Shielding

Stay at home as much as possible and should only leave for exercise and health appointments.

Don’t go to work even if you cannot work from home, and avoid busy places including shops and pharmacies.

International travel

Essential journeys are permitted