Monday, January 18, 2021

Covid: England’s third lockdown becomes law

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England’s third has legally come into force, with MPs set to vote retrospectively on it later.

The measures, which include a stay-at-home order and the closure of schools to most pupils, were announced by the prime minister on Monday.

All of the UK is now under strict virus curbs, with Wales, Northern Ireland and most of Scotland also in lockdown.

It comes after the number of new daily confirmed cases of in the UK topped 60,000 for the first time.

And it is thought one in 50 people in private households in England had the virus last week – with the figure rising to one in 30 in London.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics also suggested more than one million people in England had Covid between 27 December and 2 January.

At a Downing Street press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had “no choice” but to impose the latest lockdown in light of the latest figures, with the number of patients in hospitals 40% higher than in the first peak.

He would not guarantee that all children would be back in school before the summer holidays but insisted he was full of “optimism and fundamental hope” that things will be different in the spring.

The need to debate and vote on the measures means the House of Commons has been recalled from its Christmas recess for the second time – the first being for the post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.

Mr Johnson will update MPs, most of whom will not physically be in the chamber, on the new rules before the vote, which is due in the evening.

The regulations, which allow the lockdown to be in place until the end of March, are expected to pass with ease – as Labour is set to support the motion.

Under the measures, people in England will only be able to go out for essential reasons, exercise outdoors will only be allowed once a , and outdoor sports venues must close.

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