Prime minister announces month-long national lockdown

The prime minister has announced that the whole country will go into lockdown for a month.

Boris Johnson addressed the nation this evening (Saturday October 31), saying that from Thursday (November 5) England will be placed under a second lockdown.

The new rules are expected to last until December 2.

People have been told to work from home if they can.

Hospitality and non-essential shops will have to close – but supermarkets will remain open.

But unlike during the first lockdown this spring, schools, colleges and universities will be allowed to remain open.

Households will not be able to meet indoors except for childcare reasons.

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However you will be able to meet one person from another household outdoors.

Mr Johnson said: “From Thursday to the start of December you must stay at home.

“We’ve got to be humble in the face of nature.

“Unless we act, we could see deaths in this country running at several thousand a day.”

Apologising to businesses, Mr Johnson said the government will extend furlough payments at 80% for the duration of the new national measures.

The prime minister said the new rules were less restrictive than in the spring, but “the basic message is the same: Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.”

He was joined by Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific advisor.

They explained the lockdown was being imposed because coronavirus rates were increasing across the whole country – including in vulnerable groups.

Data from the ONS showed that the rates had been rising quickly over the past few weeks.

The rates for the East of England were shown to be among the lowest, but still increasing.

NHS data also showed there was a rise in the number of people in the East of England being admitted to hospital with Covid-19.

Prof Whitty said that if no action was taken the number of hospital admissions would rise above the level they were at in the first peak of the virus.

He also said that this would lead to an increase in the death rate associated with the virus.

Patrick Vallance said that several scientific groups had projected there was the potential for twice as many deaths in the second wave, compared to the first.

He went on to say that if nothing was done hospitals could be running out of beds by the end of November.

The Downing Street press conference was originally slated for 4pm today before first being shifted back to 5pm and then again to 6.30pm.

The announcement of the second lockdown came on the same day that government data revealed there had been more than 1 million lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus recorded in the UK since the start of the outbreak – including a further 21,915 reported today.

The government also said a further 326 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Saturday. This brings the UK total to 46,555.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 62,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.

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