Boris Johnson Confirms Four-Week Lockdown For England Until December 2
Prime minister Boris Johnson officially announced today, October 31, that England will be subject to a second national lockdown from Thursday, November 5, to Wednesday, December 2.
A new lockdown ruling will come into effect from next week, November 5, for an initial period of four weeks, as the England tries to reduce the spiking infection rates and rising daily death tolls. The plan is to remain in a full shutdown until December 2, where businesses will be able to reopen ahead of the busy festive month.
The decision to move the whole of England into a full-on national lockdown comes after the government divided the country into different tiers – 1 , 2, or 3 – depending on the number of cases per 100,000 people; the likes of Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Liverpool were some of the first areas put into the highest tier.
Speaking at a press conference today, Johnson said: ‘We’re not going back to the full scale lockdown of March and April, the measures that I’ve outlined are far less primitive and less restrictive. Though, I’m afraid, from Thursday, the basic message is the same: Stay at home, protect the NHS, and save lives.’
The new measures put in place today will see public places and businesses shut as they did in March. However, essential shops like pharmacies and supermarkets, as well as places of education including schools, universities, and nurseries, will remain open.
The ruling will see pubs and restaurants once again shut, only allowing takeaway services from those that are able to do so safely and within the guidelines. The furlough scheme will also be extended throughout November.
MPs are set to vote on the new restrictions before they are introduced this week. Once the four-week period ends, the tier system is said to be reintroduced.
It also means gyms will shut for a month. The opening and closing of gyms has been a point of contention recently, in the wake of mounting protest and debate that has raged over the lack of support they’d received. There has reportedly been a lack of scientific evidence to justify shutting gyms in tier 3 areas, while staying open benefits people physically and mentally.
People will be able to exercise outdoors, and can travel to and from work if they cannot work from home. Restrictions on international travel are also expected to come into effect.
As per the restrictions in the first lockdown, people won’t be able to meet others from outside their households either in an indoor or outdoor setting throughout November, until the risk is reassessed ahead of the December 2 end date.
According to BBC News, if no restrictions were put in place, deaths during the second wave could reach around 4,000 a day, meaning the need to lockdown is imperative. Compare this to the already alarming 1,000 or more that were dying from the virus each day during the peak of wave one, it shows the importance to take action now.
Despite people worried about Christmas being ‘cancelled’, Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky News this week that it was ‘too early’ to say whether the country would be in lockdown over Christmas or not, but emphasised that the government wanted people to be able to celebrate the holiday together, if possible.
The prime minister has been very clear, as we all are, that we want people to celebrate Christmas in a way that is as close to normal as possible.
But it is too early to be able to say exactly what the situation will be come Christmas, and exactly what different parts of the country will or will not be able to do.
Eustice added that checking the spread of the virus was ‘paramount’, but that the government wants people to ‘live their lives as close to normal as possible’, including during the Christmas period.
If people can adhere to the rules, keep from mixing households, and use PPE where applicable, then the government’s top aides say a month should be enough to lower the numbers. However, if official messaging is unclear and people rebel against the decisions, social-distancing and some form of closures look set to carry through into 2021.
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