On Saturday evening, at a press conference, the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson spoke on the country’s response to the coronavirus.
From midnight on Thursday, England is set to embark on a four-week National covid-19 lockdown with all nonessential shops, restaurants, pubs and leisure facilities to close for at least four weeks.
Announcing the extension, Johnson apologised for the impact of coronavirus measures on businesses, saying:
“I’m under no illusions about how difficult this will be for businesses which have already had to endure such hardship this year and I’m truly, truly sorry for that.”
Under the new regulations, which will be published in full on Tuesday and voted on by MPs on Wednesday, households will be banned from mixing indoors, with the exception of for childcare and other forms of support.
Support bubbles will remain in place, and children will still be able to move between homes if their parents are separated.
Unlike the first national lockdown introduced in March, schools, colleges and universities will remain open, as will childcare and early years care.
“We cannot let this virus damage our children’s futures any more than it has already,”
“Christmas is going to be different this year, perhaps very different. but it’s my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now we can allow families across the country to be together,”
According to Mark Tanzer, chief executive of travel trade organization Abta said:
“Today’s announcement that holidays in the UK and abroad will not be allowed under lockdown in England will mean a complete shutdown for travel businesses which have already been severely damaged by the pandemic – but public health must come first.
“We’re pleased to see the government has recognised the significant impact the latest lockdown will have on businesses and has extended the furlough scheme until the start of December.
“The government must also make good progress with the Global Travel Taskforce, ensuring a testing regime is ready to go as soon as lockdown is lifted. Anyone due to travel imminently on a package holiday should speak to their travel company to discuss their options.”
The prime minister’s announcement follows a sharp increase in the spread of coronavirus across England in recent weeks. The Office for National Statistics estimated that 568,100 people were infected with the virus in the week ending 23 October alone.