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New national lockdown announced for England – what you can and can’t do

'You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives'

The Prime Minister has this evening announced a new national lockdown for England, with people instructed to “stay at home” as they did during March’s first lockdown.

The public are being asked to follow the new rules, which replace the tiers system, immediately, as COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly in every part of the country due to the new coronavirus variant.

The Prime Minister’s announcement came after the UK’s COVID alert level was raised from Level 4 to Level 5, the highest possible, for the first time.

The UK recorded 58,784 new coronavirus cases on Monday – the highest daily total since the start of the pandemic.

The law will be updated to reflect the new rules, and it is expected that the new lockdown in England will last until the middle of February.

When you can leave home

People across the whole country, including Greater Manchester, must now stay at home apart from five exceptions:

For work, if people cannot work from home, such as those in the construction sector or key workers; to shop for necessities such as food or medicines; to exercise once per day at a local location (this can include with one other person from outside someone’s household or support/childcare bubble); to provide care or help to vulnerable people; to attend medical appointments or medical care, or to flee the threat of harm or violence.

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live, says the official government guidance.

You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.

Schools and colleges

All primary schools, secondary schools and colleges will move to online learning from tomorrow and will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers.

All other children will learn remotely until February half term.

Early Years settings remain open.

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid February for all except future critical worker courses.

Meeting others

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.

You must stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.

You can read more about the new national measures here.

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