Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

Factbox: What to expect as England enters new COVID lockdown

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LONDON, Jan 4 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday a new lockdown for England to try to reduce a surge in coronavirus cases driven by a new variant that threatens to overwhelm the country's health service. read more

The new stricter measures are similar to those taken at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March, and will mean that schools will close, all non-essential shops will be shuttered and that people will be urged to stay at home.

The government hopes the new measures will reduce a spiralling number of cases and hospitalisations after the four chief medical officers in the United Kingdom decided to increase the COVID alert level from four to five, the first time it has been at the highest level.

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The new lockdown, which is expected to be in place until the middle of February, will come into effect in law, and parliament is expected to consider it on Wednesday. People will be urged to follow the new restrictions from later on Monday.

What can be expected from the new lockdown in England?

STAY AT HOME

The main message from the government is for people to stay at home if they can.

People may only leave home if they are unable to work there, for example in the construction sector, or if they are key l workers. They may also leave home to shop for necessities such as food and medicine, take exercise, provide care or help to a vulnerable person or attend medical appointments.

The police will have legal powers to enforce the rules, including with fines and dispersing orders.

SCHOOLS CLOSE

From Tuesday, all schools and colleges will move to remote provision except for vulnerable children and the children of key workers.

Early years settings will remain open.

University students will be expected to study from their current place of residence until at least mid-February.

NON-ESSENTIAL SHOPS CLOSE

All non-essential retail, hospitality and personal care services must now close if they are not already shut.

Restaurants and other premises can continue delivery or take away but take-aways of alcohol will no longer be allowed.

Zoos will close.

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

Only essential journeys are permitted.

SPORT

Outdoor sport venues including outdoor gyms, tennis courts and golf courses will close and outside team sports will not be permitted.

Elite sport, including Premier League soccer, will continue.

SHIELDING

Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should stay at home as much as possible.

PLACES OF WORSHIP

Places of worship can remain open for individual prayer and communal worship but people will have to adhere to social contact rules.

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Reporting by Elizabeth Piper Editing by Gareth Jones

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