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Monday, 4 January 2021

PM plunges England back into March-style lock-down: Schools are shut as public are told again to Stay Home, Save Lives and Protect the NHS until at least the end of February - IF vaccine roll-out succeeds

 


Boris Johnson plunged England into a national lockdown in some ways even more brutal than last March tonight in a desperate bid to keep the mutant coronavirus at bay while vaccines are rolled out. Just a day after he urged parents to send their children back, PM declared in a sombre address from No10 that primary and secondary schools will be shut from tomorrow until at least February half-term, with only the vulnerable and offspring of key workers allowed to go in. University students are being told to stay at home and study remotely, while exams will not go ahead as planned. 

Nurseries can stay open. Non-essential retail, all hospitality, gyms and swimming pools are being ordered to close across the country. Cafes, bars and restaurants will be allowed to serve takeaway - but in a tightening from the draconian measures last spring, they will not be allowed to serve any alcohol. Vulnerable people are being told to shield where possible. Communal worship can continue with social distancing in place. 

The public will once again only be allowed to leave home for one of five reasons: to go to work if essential, shop for necessities, exercise - allowed with one other person from another household, care for someone, or to seek medical help. The extraordinary third national squeeze will come into effect as soon as regulations are made tomorrow, but Mr Johnson urged the public to adopt the new rules now. MPs will get a vote on them on Wednesday when Parliament is recalled, although there is no prospect of them being defeated. Aides believe there is little chance of them being lifted for at least seven weeks.

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