The Prime Minister has tonight announced, that due to the continued rapid increase in covid infections across the country, and the pressure this is placing on our health service, a new national lockdown has been introduced. You should follow the rules from now on and they will come into law on the early hours of Wednesday morning.
These measures mean that everyone is being asked to stay at home, except for legally exempt reasons such as shopping for essential items, exercise and medical appointments, including covid vaccinations and tests or if it is not safe to remain at home. Those who are clinically vulnerable are advised to begin shielding, and everyone who can work from home should do so. Schools will also move to remote learning for all pupils in primary and secondary education, apart for vulnerable children or the children of key workers. Full details are available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
The Prime Minister made clear that closing schools is a last resort, but now necessary due to the exceptionally challenging circumstances we face. The rapid spread of the new strain of covid has meant changes have had to be brought in at short notice and I know the anxiety and stress this has caused. I have been working closely with schools and colleges to ensure they and their staff and students receive the support they need, and will continue to do so.
I would urge everyone to follow these rules to ensure we can reduce the rate of infection and protect those most at risk from this disease. Our vaccination programme is underway and by controlling the spread of covid while maximising delivery of the vaccine, we can together work towards the end of this pandemic.