The UK passed one million coronavirus cases today
Boris Johnson is preparing to order a month-long national lockdown for England as the UK passed one million coronavirus cases, according to reports.
It is understood schools and essential shops will stay open but all other businesses will have to close under a new ‘tier four’ level of restrictions.
Government sources told the BBC the measure will come into effect on Thursday at one minute past midnight and last until December 2.
Mr Johnson will outline the second lockdown at a press conference expected at 6.30pm today after crunch talks with ministers this morning.
The briefing has already been delayed twice this afternoon but some detail about what the Government is planning has leaked to journalists.
ITV’s political editor Robert Peston tweeted a rundown of what he understands the new measures will be earlier. He said all non-essential shops will close but supermarkets won’t have to fence off aisles, like in Wales.
People won’t be allowed to mix inside homes and could be restricted to meeting up with just one other person outside.
Pubs and restaurants will have to close but can still offer takeaways. Manufacturing and construction sectors are expected to stay open, according to Mr Peston.
Pedestrians pass a sign in the centre of Bradford, west Yorkshire (Picture: Getty)
International travel will be banned except for work purposes while travel within the UK will be discouraged. Overnight stays away from the home will only be allowed for work purposes.
Mr Peston said courts, schools and universities will remain open and outdoor exercise will be encouraged. Private prayer will be allowed in places of worship but services will be cancelled.
The measures, in effect a fourth tier of restrictions, will last until early December when some areas of the country will be allowed to return to more lenient tier two or tier three restrictions.
Unions representing teachers have reportedly been pushing for school closures this afternoon, although the Government has consistently said this would be a last resort.
Socially distanced lessons take place at a school in Oxfordshire in June (Picture: Reuters)
Many are worried about the spread of the virus among older pupils. Kevin Courtney, the joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said it would be ‘self defeating’ to introduce a lockdown but ignore the role of schools as a ‘major contributor to the spread of the virus.’
It comes after bleak data showed the virus is rising all over the country and hospitals are struggling to cope.
Around a fifth of the population is already living under tier three restrictions, but scientists advising the Government have been pushing for more stringent measures.
It is feared hospitals could be full by mid-December and deaths could spike by Christmas Eve if action isn’t taken immediately.
Mr Johnson has been resisting pressure to implement a nationwide ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown for some time, opting instead for localised controls under the tier system.
He is said to have shifted position after members of the Scientific Advisory Group of Emergencies (SAGE) said a month-long lockdown now was the only way to save Christmas.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, check our news page.
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.