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England back in full lockdown, schools closed and exams cancelled after coronavirus rates continue to rise




The country has entered its third national lockdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this evening that tougher restrictions would come into force in England from midnight tonight.

Boris Johnson confirmed that schools would close and that exams this will be cancelled.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson

The latest restrictions are similar to those that were in place for the first lockdown in March.

Mr Johnson said: "The government is instructing you once again to stay at home."

He urged all to stay home, work from home unless absolutely necessary and to avoid travel.

People may leave the house for exercise or for essential tasks like food shopping.

The clinically vulnerable must shield again and will soon receive a letter.

Tighter Covid restrictions are to come into force. Picture: Chris Davey
Tighter Covid restrictions are to come into force. Picture: Chris Davey

All schools, primary, secondary, colleges and universities, will move to remote learning from tomorrow. Education Secretary Gavin Willamson is working with Ofqual to decide how to proceed with exams this summer.

Meanwhile, the country's Covid-19 alert level has been moved up to five due to the risk of healthcare services becoming overwhelmed.

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The latest data shows a 41% rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus patients in hospital in England between Christmas Day and January 3, figures which have caused alarm in Whitehall and the health service.

While ministers hailed the rollout of the new Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Mr Johnson warned the nation needed to prepare for some “tough” weeks ahead as the jab was extended to the most vulnerable.

Travel is expected to be further restricted, with a ban on international travel possible, other than for essential reasons.

Meanwhile, the country's Covid alert level has been moved up to five due to the risk of healthcare services becoming overwhelmed.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock stoked the rumours earlier today when he said the Tier 3 restrictions were not enough to control the new variant.

He told Sky News: “We don’t rule anything out, and we’ve shown repeatedly that we will look at the public health advice and we will take the public health advice in terms of what is needed to control the spread of the disease.

“This new variant is much easier to catch, it is much more transmissible, and we’re now seeing the effect of that in lots of different parts of the country, unfortunately.

“And it means that, whereas the old Tier 3 was able to contain the old variant, that is proving increasingly difficult in all parts of the country.”

Tighter Covid restrictions are to come into force. Picture: Chris Davey
Tighter Covid restrictions are to come into force. Picture: Chris Davey

“And it means that, whereas the old Tier 3 was able to contain the old variant, that is proving increasingly difficult in all parts of the country.”

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