PM reveals 1.3million have now been vaccinated

The new lockdown in England at a glance 

England will be put into a full national lockdown that will last until the February half term. 

According to the new rules:  

All primary and secondary schools will close with immediate effect Classes will remain only for vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers.  The plan is for them to reopen after the February half-term break. A-Level and GCSE exams are unlikely to go ahead as planned in the summer. Universities will also remain closed to students until mid-February. Nurseries will remain fully open.  The public should stay at home unless they need to leave for one of just five reasons: If they cannot work from home, shopping for necessities, exercise, to give care and for medical treatment or emergencies. All non-essential retailers, hospitality and 'personal care' like hairdressers must close. Restaurants and other eateries can continue to operate for takeaways and deliveries.  But pubs will no longer be allowed to offer take-away alcohol sales.  Children's playgrounds will remain open.  All indoor and outdoor sports venues, including golf courses, gyms, swimming pools and tennis courts must close, and team sports cannot take place, even outdoors.  Elite sports like the Premier League can go on under their own schemes.

The guidance is for people who are fit and well. 

There is additional advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus and households with a possible or confirmed coronavirus infection. 

They should not attend work, school, college or university, and limit the time you spend outside the home.  The guidance says you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential.

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The rules for all people in England also state:  

You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one). You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble. You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason. Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.

Detailed guidance on the national lockdown:

You must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a 'reasonable excuse'. This will be put in law. The police can take action against you if you leave home without a 'reasonable excuse', and issue you with a fine (Fixed Penalty Notice).

You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

A 'reasonable excuse' includes:

Work - you can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home Volunteering - you can also leave home to provide voluntary or charitable services Essential activities - you can leave home to buy things at shops or obtain services. You may also leave your home to do these things on behalf of a disabled or vulnerable person or someone self-isolating Education and childcare - you can only leave home for education, registered childcare, and supervised activities for children where they are eligible to attend.  Meeting others and care - you can leave home to visit people in your support bubble ( if you are legally permitted to form one), to provide informal childcare for children under 14 as part of a childcare bubble (for example, to enable parents to work), to provide care for disabled or vulnerable people Exercise - you can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble, limited to once per day, and not outside your local area  Medical reasons - you can leave home for a medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies Harm and compassionate visits - you can leave home to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse).  You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment Animal welfare reasons – you can leave home for animal welfare reasons, such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment Communal worship and life events - You can leave home to attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral or event related to a death, a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a ceremony.

There are further reasonable excuses. For example, you may leave home to fulfil legal obligations or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property, or where it is reasonably necessary for voting in an election or referendum.

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Boris Johnson tonight revealed that one in 50 of the population is infected with coronavirus as he said 1.3million people have now been vaccinated.

The PM told a Downing Street briefing that the spread of the disease had made lockdown impossible to avoid.

But he insisted the measures can get the situation under control while vaccines are rolled out - dismissing anxiety that he is 'over-promising' by claiming the most vulnerable categories can be given jabs by mid-February.

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Mr Johnson vowed to give the country 'jab by jab' information about the crucial process.  

He was flanked at the press conference by medical and science chiefs Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance - whose warnings about the threat of the NHS being overwhelmed sparked the extraordinary U-turn to plunge England into new restrictions.

The scale of the problem was underlined tonight as the UK reported a record 60,916 cases - up nearly 15 per cent on last Tuesday. The tally of deaths was 830, double the number from last week.   

As ministers battle to prevent the brutal squeeze wiping out the hospitality and leisure sectors, Rishi Sunak has unveiled another £4.6billion bailout, offering one-off grants of up to £9,000 to keep venues afloat for the next seven weeks.

The Chancellor also hinted that furlough could be extended beyond April if necessary, even though the government's borrowing is spiralling out of control. 

But businesses are urging the government to go further by offering VAT and rates relief.

And Tory unrest is growing amid fears that Mr Johnson has raised false hopes that the measures can be lifted by mid-February. 

Michael Gove admitted this morning that there was no 'certainty' on the  timeline, as it depends on the government meeting its highly ambitious targets for vaccinating more than 13million of the most vulnerable in society.

The Cabinet Office minister also cautioned that even in the best case scenario not 'all' of the curbs will go, as he braced the weary public for a long haul to combat the fast-spreading new variant of coronavirus.

Some Conservative MPs are demanding to know why more preparation was not done for the vaccine drive in the autumn, pointing out that Israel has been more successful despite not having a 'functional' government.

'We need that scaling up of vaccination like Israel has managed to achieve,' one backbencher told MailOnline. 'Why aren't we there already? Why hasn't the time been used over the summer and autumn to get the army of vaccinators in place?

'The only limitation should be the speed by which the manufacturers are able to supply it to you. 

'The whole future of the economy, the future of saving more lives, the future of a sense of normality is in the hands of the vaccinator. That is where we now are.' 

Other senior MPs were just as gloomy. 'We are over-promising and under-delivering,' one said. 'It is a big risk. They are not prepared and they are not ready to do it.

'The problem is people don't understand the logistics of administering this vaccine and checking people are OK and doing the paperwork. It is not just a case of putting a jab in someone's arm.' 

Labour leader Keir Starmer said the crackdown was 'essential' and his MPs will support them, effectively guaranteeing their approval in the Commons. But he criticised the government for not changing course sooner and expressed serious doubts about the optimism over distributing vaccines.  

'The prime minister said seven weeks - that's to allow the vaccination programme to be rolled out for 13 to 14million people,' Sir Keir said. 

'That's the ambition of the prime minister. I hope he is not over-promising. It's going to be a struggle and we need to make this work.'

Just a day after he urged parents to send their children back, Mr Johnson declared in a sombre address from No10 that primary and secondary schools will be shut from today, with only the vulnerable and offspring of key workers allowed to go in.

Nurseries can stay open. But university students are being told to stay at home and study remotely, while GCSE and A-level exams will not go ahead as planned. 

Teenagers might not know for weeks how their exams will be replaced, with Ofsted expected to launch a consultation, although government sources said some 'contingency' plans had already been considered. 

Under the the new guidance, published overnight, non-essential retail, all hospitality, gyms and swimming pools will be ordered to close - with Rishi Sunak due to lay out another package of support today amid growing fears about the impact on the economy. 

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.  

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 or flee threat such as domestic violence.

Communal worship can continue with social distancing in place. 

Those who break the rules face a £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. 

The extraordinary third national squeeze will come into effect in the early hours tomorrow after the regulations are laid today, 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.  

Senior Tory MPs had joined the Opposition in calling for the introduction of another national lockdown. But the idea of hardening the restrictions sparked fury from other Conservatives, who insist the country's experience of the pandemic shows that lockdowns do not work and are crippling the economy. 

There are claims that at least two MPs have now sent letters of no confidence in the PM to Conservative backbench chief Sir Graham Brady - although the numbers are nowhere near the threshold to put his position in doubt. 

With his hands clasped together and seated behind a desk in Downing Street last night, Mr Johnson made clear there is no chance of them being lifted for at least seven weeks - and possibly longer if the vaccine rollout does not go well.

'Our hospitals are under more pressure than at any time since the start of the pandemic. It's clear we need to do more.. while our vaccines are rolled out,' he said.

He said it would not be 'possible or fair' for exams to go ahead this summer as normal.

'The weeks ahead will be the hardest but I really do believe that we are reaching the end of the struggle,' he said, pledging that by mid-February the top four categories on the vaccine distribution list will have had their first jabs. 

There are 13.2million people in the top four groups on the vaccination list - care home residents and the over-80s, frontline healthcare workers, the over-70s and the clinically vulnerable. 

But the Prime Minister admitted that he could only give assurance that the situation will improve assuming that 'our understanding of the virus does not change again'.  

He said: 'By the middle of February, if things go well and with a fair wind in our sails, we expect to have offered the first vaccine dose to everyone in the four top priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

'That means vaccinating all residents in a care home for older adults and their carers, everyone over the age of 70, all frontline health and social care workers, and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.

'If we succeed in vaccinating all those groups, we will have removed huge numbers of people from the path of the virus.

'And of course, that will eventually enable us to lift many of the restrictions we have endured for so long.' 

Mr Johnson said he was left with no option after being confronted with catastrophic figures about the burden on the NHS by science chiefs today. 

Hospital patients with coronavirus had risen by 40 per cent over a week, and are now higher than at the peak of the first wave.  

As England gets used to the idea of a third national lockdown and months more coronavirus chaos:

Rishi Sunak today announced another £4.6billion of bailouts for lockdown-stricken businesses as economists warned of the 'colossal' hit from the surging pandemic; Arrivals at UK borders are set to have to show they have tested negative for Covid in the last 72 hours in another major U-turn from government; Police have warned that enforcing the lockdown will be difficult with large numbers of officers already off sick or self-isolating; Scientists have warned that even the new tough measures might not be enough to contain the mutant coronavirus strain;    The PM is set to hold a press conference with medical and science chiefs Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance at 5pm;   Streets and city centres were quiet as Britons digested the new restrictions being placed on their lives; Hundreds of medical professionals have called for hospital staff to be given higher grade personal protective equipment (PPE) amid growing concern over airborne transmission of coronavirus;  The scale of the problem was underlined as the latest grim daily tally was released, with 58,784 new cases - a 42 per cent rise on last Monday. 

Downing Street issued a series of slides showing the problem the country faces due to the new variant of the virus - the evidence that apparently forced Mr Johnson into his latest extraordinary U-turn

Downing Street issued a series of slides showing the problem the country faces due to the new variant of the virus - the evidence that apparently forced Mr Johnson into his latest extraordinary U-turn

Hundreds of thousands of non-essential retailers will have to keep their doors closed under England's third nation-wide lockdown

Hundreds of thousands of non-essential retailers will have to keep their doors closed under England's third nation-wide lockdown

Michael Gove admitted there was no 'certainty' that the brutal squeeze imposed by Boris Johnson on England last night will be eased at the end of February as hoped

Boris Johnson today

Michael Gove (left) admitted there was no 'certainty' that the brutal squeeze imposed by Boris Johnson (pictured right after his run this morning) will be eased at the end of February as hoped

The Joint Biosecurity Centre has recommended today that the Covid-19 alert level be reduced

ALL YOUR LOCKDOWN QUESTIONS ANSWERED 

Why is England going into lockdown again?

Cases caused by the new, more infectious variant of Covid-19 are surging rapidly in every part of the country. In the past week they have gone up by 30 per cent, and the number is 40 per cent higher than the peak of the first wave in April. Medical experts have warned the NHS could be overwhelmed in 21 days unless action is taken.

How long will it last?

Until mid-February. It will then be subject to a review.

Can I see family and friends?

The mixing of households indoors is not allowed outside of support bubbles. You can meet one other person outside your household for outdoor exercise.

If I am in a bubble with someone, can I still see them?

The support bubble system – where a person living alone can pair with another household – can continue. Childcare support bubbles are also still allowed.

Are schools closing?

Yes. All primary and secondary schools and colleges have to close and switch to online learning, except for the children of key workers and the most vulnerable. Universities must also stay closed. Early years providers, such as nurseries, and special schools can stay open.

Will GCSEs and A-levels be cancelled?

Boris Johnson said it would not be possible, or fair, for all exams to go ahead as normal this summer. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will work to put alternative arrangements in place.

Will churches and other places of worship stay open?

Yes, they are allowed to open for individual prayer and communal worship.

Can I go on holiday in the UK or abroad?

No. Only essential travel is allowed.

Will playgrounds stay open?

Unlike the first lockdown, yes.

Can I move home?

Yes, you can still view houses and move home.

Can I let my cleaner or plumber into my house?

Yes, essential visits by tradesmen can continue.

Can I still exercise?

You can exercise outdoors with your household, your support bubble or alone with one other person from another household. Exercise should be limited to once a day and should be local, meaning you should not drive to a spot.

Can I play golf or tennis?

No. Courses and courts must shut.

Is professional sport affected?

No. Elite sports that are Covid-secure and have bubble systems can continue.

Will there be extra financial support?

The furlough scheme will remain in place until April.

Can I leave my house to get a Covid vaccine?

Yes, you can leave your home for all medical appointments.

Will garden centres be open?

Yes.

Are restaurants open?

Not for eating inside, but cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars can serve takeaway food and non-alcoholic drinks until 11pm.

Will non-essential retailers such as clothes shops be open?

No. But click-and-collect services will be permitted to continue.

What about hairdressers and salons?

No, they are among the non-essential shops that must close.

Can I go to work?

Only if you 'absolutely cannot' work from home. This means the construction industry can continue and key workers can continue to go to work.

Can I get married?

Only in exceptional circumstances, for example in cases where people are dying or have debilitating conditions.

I had to 'shield' last time – will I have to do this again?

Yes. Those who are clinically vulnerable and who were previously told to shield should stay at home and leave only for medical appointments or exercise. They will receive a letter shortly informing them about this.

Can I travel to my second home?

Travel is allowed only for essential work, shopping for necessities, exercise, caring for the vulnerable and medical reasons.

What shops are open?  

Food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences are allowed to remain open, along with market stalls selling essential retail.

Can I go to the bank?  

Banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses can stay open. 

Can I take my pet to the vet? 

Vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals can stay open, along with animal rescue centres

What about public facilities?  

Car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas, along with outdoor playgrounds, outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise can stay open 

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Rishi Sunak today announced another £4.6billion of bailouts for lockdown-stricken businesses as economists warned of the 'colossal' hit from the surging pandemic.

The Chancellor declared that venues hammered by Boris Johnson's dramatic decision will get one-off grants of up to £9,000 to keep them afloat over the next seven weeks.

Some 600,000 premises across the UK are set to receive the cash, while another £594million is being pumped into a 'discretionary fund' to support other firms affected.

Mr Sunak also pointedly refused to rule out extending the massive furlough scheme again beyond the end of April, merely saying he would 'take stock' at the Budget in March.

However, businesses warned that the package is not enough, amid pressure for VAT and rates relief to be kept in place to stop a wave of bankruptcies.  

The latest huge intervention came amid fears that the lockdown will slash GDP by up to 10 per cent in every month it is imposed - although the respected IFS think-tank said this morning that the impact might be lower as businesses have adapted since the first squeeze in March.

It will also raise alarm at the state of the government's finances, with IFS director Paul Johnson saying the scale of the economic damage was the worst 'in the whole of history'. Public sector borrowing could hit £400billion this year, with Mr Sunak already having warned of a reckoning later to balance the books.

In his speech to the nation, the Prime Minister said the previous tiers would have been enough to cope with Covid as it was originally, but the new variant – which is 50 per cent to 70 per cent more transmissible – was spreading in a 'frustrating and alarming' manner.

'As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals are under more pressure from Covid than at any time since the start of the pandemic,' he said.

Mr Johnson said that in England the number of Covid patients in hospitals has increased by nearly a third in the last week to almost 27,000 – some 40 per cent higher than the first peak in April.

On December 29 'more than 80,000 people tested positive for Covid across the UK', the number of deaths is up by 20 per cent over the last week 'and will sadly rise further'.

'With most of the country, or maybe under extreme measures, it's clear that we need to do more together to bring this new variant under control while our vaccines are rolled out,' he said.

'In England we must therefore go into a national lockdown which is tough enough to contain this variant.'

Mr Johnson said parents 'may reasonably ask why' decisions on schools were not taken 'sooner'.

'The answer is simply that we've been doing everything in our power to keep schools open because we know how important each day in education is to children's life chances,' he said.

'And I want to stress that the problem is not that schools are unsafe for children. Children are still very unlikely to be severely affected by even the new variant of Covid.

'The problem is that schools may nonetheless act as vectors for transmission, causing the virus to spread between households.'

Mr Johnson said the move on schools means 'it's not possible or fair for all exams to go ahead this summer, as normal'.

The PM added: 'We will provide extra support to ensure that pupils entitled to free school meals will continue to receive them while schools are closed, and we will distribute more devices to support remote education.'

The premier suggested England could 'steadily' move out of lockdown from mid-February - but he heavily caveated his optimism, in a sign that the crisis could drag on much longer.

'If our understanding of the virus doesn't change dramatically, once again, if the rollout of the vaccine programme continues to be successful, if deaths start to fall as the vaccine takes effect and – critically – if everyone plays their part by following the rules, then I hope we can steadily move out of lockdown, reopening schools after the February half-term and starting cautiously to move regions down the tiers,' Mr Johnson said.

'I must stress that even if we achieve this goal, there remains a time lag of two to three weeks from getting a jab to receiving immunity.

'And there will be a further time lag before the pressure on the NHS is lifted. So we should remain cautious about the timetable ahead.'

He rounded off his downbeat address by repeating the mantra from the first lockdown, 'stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives'.

'I want to say to everyone right across the UK that I know how tough this is,' he said.

'And I know how frustrated you are and I know that you have had more than enough of Government guidance about defeating this virus.

'But now, more than ever, we must pull together.'

He warned that 'the weeks ahead will be the hardest yet' but 'with every jab that goes into our arms, we are tilting the odds against Covid and in favour of the British people'.

'Thanks to the miracle of science not only is the end in sight but we know exactly how we will get there.'

Even the Scilly Isles has not escaped, shifting from Tier 1 straight to full lockdown. 

In a round of interviews, Mr Gove said a review of the situation would happen in the February half-term.

'We hope we will be able to progressively lift restrictions after that but what I can't do is predict – nobody can predict – with accuracy exactly what we will be able to relax and when,' he told Sky News.

'What we do know is that the more effective our vaccination programme, the more people who are protected in that way, the easier it will be to lift these restrictions.' 

Despite the ferocity of the new measures, scientists warned they still might not be enough to control the Covid variant. 

Andrew Hayward, professor of infectious diseases epidemiology at University College London, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the move 'will clearly save tens of thousands of lives'.

But he added: 'The threat we're facing is at least as bad as we were back in March.

'I think the virus is different and it may be that the lockdown measures we had are not enough so we need to learn from the new insights and new technologies, we need to learn from the last lockdown and particularly some of the things we saw.

'I think this time round we really need to use this lockdown to bear down on the virus in a way that can protect key workers – for example, we could be using the lateral flow (tests) and working with employers to offer regular testing to key workers.'

Meanwhile, police warned that enforcing the new national lockdown would put 'a lot of pressure' on officers whose numbers are already reduced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Rishi unveils ANOTHER £4.6bn bailout for stricken businesses 

Rishi Sunak today announced another £4.6billion of bailouts for lockdown-stricken businesses as economists warned of the 'colossal' hit from the surging pandemic.

The Chancellor declared that venues hammered by Boris Johnson's dramatic decision will get one-off grants of up to £9,000 to keep them afloat over the next seven weeks.

Some 600,000 premises across the UK are set to receive the cash, while another £594million is being pumped into a 'discretionary fund' to support other firms affected.

Mr Sunak also pointedly refused to rule out extending the massive furlough scheme again beyond the end of April, merely saying he would 'take stock' at the Budget in March.

However, businesses warned that the package is not enough, amid pressure for VAT and rates relief to be kept in place to stop a wave of bankruptcies.  

The latest huge intervention came amid fears that the lockdown will slash GDP by up to 10 per cent in every month it is imposed - although the respected IFS think-tank said this morning that the impact might be lower as businesses have adapted since the first squeeze in March.

It will also raise alarm at the state of the government's finances, with IFS director Paul Johnson saying the scale of the economic damage was the worst 'in the whole of history'. Public sector borrowing could hit £400billion this year, with Mr Sunak already having warned of a reckoning later to balance the books.

 

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Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation – which represents front line officers in London, said some 1,300 were off sick or self-isolating in the capital.

His counterpart nationally, John Apter, wrote in the Daily Telegraph some forces were reporting 15 per cent of their staff off sick or self-isolating.

Mr Marsh urged the Government to place police officers on a priority list to receive coronavirus vaccines, saying requests to the Government so far were 'falling on deaf ears'.

Businesses voiced dismay at the new clampdown that threatens to wreak more havoc on the economy. 

British Chambers of Commerce director general Adam Marshall said: 'Businesses will understand why the Prime Minister has felt compelled to act on the spiralling threat to public health, but they will be baffled and disappointed by the fact that he did not announce additional support for affected businesses alongside these new restrictions.'

Asked about how lockdown enforcement would affect officers, Mr Marsh said: 'It will obviously create a lot of pressure on us because we have a lot more officers off this time than we did back in March.

'Our numbers have rocketed in terms of officers with Covid and officers isolating and we envisage that getting worse.

'So the pressure is on my colleagues who are still out there to maintain the same level that they did before.'

Commenting on getting officers access to vaccines, he claimed: 'It would appear that policing has been airbrushed out of any conversation in relation to protecting my colleagues, which I find quite incredible considering they are on the front line.

'They are the one group of people other than the National Health Service that actually have to go to work and have to be out there with the public, every day, 24 hours a day.

'It's just amazing that no consideration whatsoever has been given to vaccinating police.'

Mr Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, has called for officers to be prioritised after society's most vulnerable groups and NHS workers have been given the jab.

He wrote in the Telegraph: 'Without the vaccine, there is a real danger that more officers will contract the virus.

'As growing numbers self-isolate or report sick with the virus, then the police service begins to struggle to do what the public fully expects of it.

'Some forces are already starting to report up to 15 per cent of their officers off sick or self-isolating. This is getting worse and is simply not sustainable.'

Starmer warns PM 'over-promising' on vaccines 

Sir Keir Starmer sent a warning shot to Boris Johnson today over the Prime Minister's ambitious goal of vaccinating 13million Brits by mid-February, claiming it will be another example of No10 'over-promising and under-delivering' if it fails.

Labour's leader said drastically scaling up the vaccination programme — which has so far only inoculated a million people, despite launching a month ago — would be a 'struggle' and that there was 'no room for error'.

His comments came after Michael Gove today warned that lockdown will only start to be lifted gradually in March — and that the timeline depends on the Government meeting its inoculation goal.

But there are serious doubts about whether the target is achievable, given it has been slow to get off the ground and the NHS will need to juggle running the biggest immunisation programme in British history with battling the greatest crisis it has ever faced as Covid patients continue to pour into hospitals. Record numbers of staff absences and stringent infection control measures are also making the jobs of frontline health workers more difficult.

The NHS has refused to commit to the two million target because of potential vaccine supply shortages, staffing concerns and other logistical hurdles. There is also a suggestion that health bosses want to distance themselves from the Government's arbitrary targets, given that it has failed to hit numerous goals throughout the pandemic, including ramping up daily swabbing capacity and expanding NHS Test and Trace.

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Mr Apter, whose organisation represents 130,000 officers, said the 'last thing the public want is to call 999 in their hour of need, only to find we are too short of officers to be able to respond'.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: 'A third lockdown is yet another blow to our sector. Particularly after it has faced an abysmally quiet Christmas and New Year's, which saw many pubs remain closed over what is meant to be their busiest time of the year.

'The announcement today adds to the woes of pubs as it shows they are a long way from reopening properly. The road to recovery for the pub sector just got longer.'

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the Government should have gone further by extending the rules on wearing face masks to cover busy outdoor areas and toughening up controls at the borders.

'This announcement by the Government of a full national lockdown was inevitable,' Mr Khan said.

'It is unclear why it took Boris Johnson so long to reach this conclusion.'

The latest infection tally meant the UK has passed the milestone of 50,000 infections every day for a week, suggesting that the easing of restrictions at Christmas helped fuel the outbreak.

Department of Health chiefs also posted 407 more deaths, up just 14 per cent on the figure recorded last week. 

But it can take infected patients several weeks to fall severely ill and succumb to the illness, meaning fatalities have yet to reach their peak and will continue to rise. 

The UK recorded almost 1,000 deaths twice last week, in grisly tolls not seen since the darkest days of the spring.

Nicola Sturgeon announced a drastic crackdown in the Scottish Parliament on Monday afternoon, with a legally-enforced stay at home order from midnight and schools north of the border set to stay closed until February. 

Mr Johnson confirmed yesterday morning that 'tougher' measures were coming despite the optimism sparked by the first Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine doses being administered - although at that point he appeared to hint he would prefer to stick with the Tier system in England. 

Streets and city centres were quiet as Britons digested the new restrictions being placed on their lives. PIctured, Waterloo station in London

Streets and city centres were quiet as Britons digested the new restrictions being placed on their lives. PIctured, Waterloo station in London

Traffic was relatively light in many parts of London this morning, although the new rules have yet to come into force legally. Pictured, the A40 Marylebone flyover heading into central London

Traffic was relatively light in many parts of London this morning, although the new rules have yet to come into force legally. Pictured, the A40 Marylebone flyover heading into central London

Lockdown 3: what 'non-essential businesses must close? 

Non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (excluding rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods. (These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect off-premises, and delivery services).

Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs (they can remain open for takeaway and delivery of food and non-alcoholic drinks).   

Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, 

Leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts,fitness and dance studios, riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses.

Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks

Animal attractions (such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife reserves)

Indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, stately homes and landmarks -  though outdoor grounds can stay open for exercise.

Personal care facilities such as hair, , tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. They can also not be done in private homes.

Community centres and halls. 

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SAGE had cautioned that it is probably impossible to control the new coronavirus variant while they remain open - although experts say a total shutdown still might not be enough to bring the 'R' reproduction rate below one.   

Michael Gove held a conference call with the First Ministers from the four nations to coordinate strategies. But in a sign of splits, Wales has said it will push ahead with reopening schools over the next fortnight unless there is new evidence about the variant strain.

Earlier, ex-health secretary Jeremy Hunt joined demands from Labour and Tory MPs for an immediate national squeeze with schools and borders shut and a ban on all household mixing.

Mr Hunt warned that mutant Covid has put the NHS under 'off the scale' pressure compared to normal winters and the government 'cannot afford to wait' even one more day.

Mr Hunt posted on Twitter: 'To those arguing winter is always like this in the NHS: you are wrong. I faced four serious winter crises as Health Sec and the situation now is off-the-scale worse than any of those.'

Mr Hunt said the 'No1 lesson' from the pandemic is that countries can 'save lives and get their economies back to normal faster' if they 'act early and decisively'.

'We therefore cannot afford to wait: all schools should be closed, international travel stopped, household mixing limited and the tier system reviewed so that the highest tier really does bring down infection levels,' Mr Hunt said.   

'The good news is that unlike before these restrictions will be time limited to the 12 weeks or so it will take to get the vaccine out to those most vulnerable to covid - so there is light at the end of the tunnel.' 

Mr Hunt was among a growing band of Conservative MPs, including ex-No10 adviser Neil O'Brien, urging emergency steps to tackle the coronavirus surge. 

Labour has also been pushing for a squeeze, with Sadiq Khan saying Mr Hunt was 'spot on'. 

Earlier Matt Hancock suggested the first step will be to escalate even more of the country into Tier 4, saying Tier 3 did not seem able to hold back the more infectious version of the deadly disease.

He insisted the problem was partly down to people failing to obey the rules, amid calls from some MPs for police to be given more powers.  

But there were questions about how much more impact extending the coverage of Tier 4 could have, given three-quarters of England is already subject to the harshest bracket, where only essential shops such as supermarkets are allowed to open and people are meant to stay at home. 

Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director for Public Health England (PHE), said the latest daily figures were a 'bitter warning' about the threat.

BORIS JOHNSON'S LOCKDOWN ANNOUNCEMENT IN FULL 

'Since the pandemic began last year, the whole United Kingdom has been engaged in a great national effort to fight Covid.

'And there is no doubt that in fighting the old variant of the virus, our collective efforts were working and would have continued to work.

'But we now have a new variant of the virus. It has been both frustrating and alarming to see the speed with which the new variant is spreading.

'Our scientists have confirmed this new variant is between 50% and 70% more transmissible - that means you are much, much more likely to catch the virus and to pass it on.

'As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals are under more pressure from Covid than at any time since the start of the pandemic.

'In England alone, the number of Covid patients in hospitals has increased by nearly a third in the last week, to almost 27,000.

'That number is 40% higher than the first peak in April. On 29 December, more than 80,000 people tested positive for Covid across the UK - a new record.

'The number of deaths is up by 20% over the last week and will sadly rise further. My thoughts are with all those who have lost loved ones.

'With most of the country already under extreme measures, it is clear that we need to do more, together, to bring this new variant under control while our vaccines are rolled out.

'In England, we must therefore go into a national lockdown which is tough enough to contain this variant.

'That means the Government is once again instructing you to stay at home.

'You may only leave home for limited reasons permitted in law, such as to shop for essentials, to work if you absolutely cannot work from home, to exercise, to seek medical assistance such as getting a Covid test, or to escape domestic abuse.

'The full details on what you can and can't do will be available at gov.uk/coronavirus.

'If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, we are advising you to begin shielding again and you will shortly receive a letter about what this means for you.

'And because we now have to do everything we possibly can to stop the spread of the disease, primary schools, secondary schools and colleges across England must move to remote provision from tomorrow, except for vulnerable children and the children of key workers.

'Everyone will still be able to access early years settings such as nurseries.

'We recognise that this will mean it is not possible or fair for all exams to go ahead this summer as normal. The Education Secretary will work with Ofqual to put in place alternative arrangements.

'We will provide extra support to ensure that pupils entitled to free school meals will continue to receive them while schools are closed, and we'll distribute more devices to support remote education.

'I completely understand the inconvenience and distress this late change will cause millions of parents and pupils up and down the country.

'Parents whose children were in school today may reasonably ask why we did not take this decision sooner.

'The answer is simply that we have been doing everything in our power to keep schools open, because we know how important each day in education is to children's life chances.

'And I want to stress that the problem is not that schools are unsafe for children - children are still very unlikely to be severely affected by even the new variant of Covid.

'The problem is that schools may nonetheless act as vectors for transmission, causing the virus to spread between households.

'Today the United Kingdom's chief medical officers have advised that the country should move to alert level 5, meaning that if action is not taken NHS capacity may be overwhelmed within 21 days.

'Of course, there is one huge difference compared to last year. We are now rolling out the biggest vaccination programme in our history.

'So far, we in the UK have vaccinated more people than the rest of Europe combined.

'With the arrival today of the UK's own Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, the pace of vaccination is accelerating.

'I can share with you tonight the NHS's realistic expectations for the vaccination programme in the coming weeks.

'By the middle of February, if things go well and with a fair wind in our sails, we expect to have offered the first vaccine dose to everyone in the four top priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

'That means vaccinating all residents in a care home for older adults and their carers, everyone over the age of 70, all frontline health and social care workers, and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.

'If we

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