Covid: The new lockdown rules for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Plans for a new four-week lockdown across England – to try to keep coronavirus under control – have been announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Scotland is moving to a five-tier system of coronavirus restrictions from Monday, while Wales and Northern Ireland are in the middle of temporary lockdowns.

MPs will vote on the proposals on Wednesday. If approved the measures will be introduced at 00:01 GMT on Thursday 5 November and remain in place until Wednesday 2 December.

The lockdown will be introduced by moving all parts of the country from their current three-tier set of restrictions to a new national lockdown.

After 2 December, different regions will return to the tiers one to three, depending upon the rates of infection.

Until Thursday, every area of England is now in one of three categories – medium (tier one), high (tier two) or very high (tier three), depending on the local infection rate.

Areas with the most rapidly rising transmission rates are placed in tier three.

Extra measures can be introduced for individual areas.

Areas in tier one are subject to the basic national rules previously in force.

From Monday, each area of Scotland will move into one of five levels:

More than half of Scotland’s 32 local authorities are under level three restrictions, including Edinburgh and Glasgow. All the rest will start off on levels one or two.

Schools will stay open in all levels. The decision is based on factors including number of cases per 100,000 people, the ratio of positive test results, projections of new cases and the capacity of local hospitals and intensive care units.

Scotland’s current restrictions include tougher rules imposed on 3.4 million people in the country’s central belt.

Until Monday, all licensed premises – except hotel bars for residents – must close indoors and outdoors, although takeaways are permitted. Cafes can stay open until 18:00 daily, but must not serve alcohol.

Wales is under lockdown until 9 November, during which:

In addition, supermarkets and food shops remain open, but are not allowed to sell “non-essential goods”.

However, the Welsh government has now clarified which non-food and drink items can be sold.

Northern Ireland is in the middle of four weeks of restrictions. Schools have closed for a two-week extended half-term break and will reopen on 2 November.

Other measures include:

North Shields care home residents wife makes key worker plea

A woman whose husband of 50 years is in a care home with dementia has called on the government to give people like her key worker status.

Susan Ogden has been unable to visit her husband Peter at the home in North Shields since lockdown began.

She said if essential family carers were classed as key workers she would be able to go there and hold his hand.

The Department of Health and Social care said it was considering plans to enable people such as her to visit.

Prior to lockdown she had been visiting regularly, and initially believed the restrictions would only be temporary.

In the summer, she was offered a socially-distanced visit – with a mask on – in the care home’s garden but turned it down, believing it would be more likely to be more upsetting for him than comforting.

She said: “The best way to engage with someone with advanced dementia is by touch and if I couldn’t hold his hand or stroke his face or anything like that it would be a fairly pointless exercise.

“People like I am who are classed as an essential family carer should be given key worker status.

“They should be tested regularly and then allowed to visit, wearing an apron and gloves and visor, but being able to hold Peter’s hand.

“I’d say to the government ‘tomorrow won’t do, you must act now’.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We recognise how important it is to allow care home residents to safely meet their loved ones and the challenges visiting restrictions pose for people with dementia… and their family and friends.

“Our priority remains the prevention of infections to protect staff and residents but we are considering plans to allow specific family and friends to visit safely.

“We will set out further details in due course.”

Covid-19: PM announces four-week England lockdown

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a second national lockdown for England as the UK passed one million Covid-19 cases.

Non-essential shops and hospitality will have to close for four weeks on Thursday, he said.

But unlike the restrictions in spring, schools, colleges and universities will be allowed to stay open.

It comes as documents suggested the UK was on course for a much higher death toll than during the first wave.

The lockdown is due to last until 2 December, the prime minister said at a Downing Street news conference.

Takeaways will be allowed to stay open as pubs, bars and restaurants close and people are being told they can only meet one person from outside their household outdoors.

Mr Johnson, who chaired a cabinet meeting on Saturday afternoon, will make a statement to Parliament on Monday.

The UK recorded another 21,915 confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 1,011,660.

Another 326 people were reported to have died within 28 days of a positive test.

The UK is the ninth country to reach the milestone of a million cases – after the US, India, Brazil, Russia, France, Spain, Argentina and Colombia.

But the true number of infections is expected to be higher due to a lack of widespread testing at the start of the pandemic.

Prof Neil Ferguson, whose modelling was crucial to the decision to impose the first lockdown, said keeping universities and schools open meant infections would decrease more slowly this time.

He said the new restrictions could reduce cases by anywhere between 20% and 80%, adding that he hoped larger groups of people would be able to gather by Christmas “if only for a few days”.

Mr Johnson had previously resisted pressure to introduce nationwide restrictions, saying they would be “disastrous” for the UK’s finances and opting instead for a three-tiered system targeting local areas in England.

Ahead of the news conference, school and university unions called for education institutions to be closed and for teaching to move online in another national lockdown.

The National Education Union said it would be “self-defeating” to ignore how schools helped to spread the virus.

And “the health and safety of the country is being put at risk” by the insistence on keeping in-person teaching on campuses, the University and College Union said.

The month-long lockdown may suppress the virus, but what is less clear is whether the government will be in a better position to stop it rebounding.

There have been calls to fix the test and trace service, but that is easier said than done.

Testing capacity is being increased. In the coming days, the government is expected to announce its labs are able to process 500,000 tests a day. That should allow the system to speed up turnaround times.

But improving the tracing side of the service is likely to be much more difficult.

Councils in England are being encouraged to set up their own local contact tracing teams to support the under-pressure national system.

About a third of areas have now launched their own services and there are some encouraging signs in what’s being achieved.

But questions are quite rightly being asked why this is only happening now as the second wave hits.

Significant levels of transmission are also being seen in care homes and hospitals, where one in six of the new daily admissions are suspected to be cases where patients have caught the virus in hospital.

Expect infection levels to come down quickly – and eventually that to translate to fewer hospital admissions and deaths.

But the true test of the lockdown lies elsewhere.

The British Chambers of Commerce said the new restrictions would be a “devastating blow” to businesses, which were in a weaker position now than they were in March.

Director general Adam Marshall said the government must increase business support and “must not squander” the extra time bought by another lockdown.

Elsewhere in the UK, Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said the 17-day “firebreak” there will end as planned on 9 November.

He said that his cabinet will meet on Sunday to “discuss any potential border issues for Wales in light of any announcement by No 10”.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has issued new advice that people should not travel to or from England, except for essential purposes, ahead of the nation’s five-level system of restrictions coming into force on Monday.

The lockdown decision for England comes as scientists warned the NHS could be “overwhelmed within weeks”.

Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, said the current restrictions were not enough to stop the virus spreading and without action, “there’s absolutely no doubt that many more of us would have seen loved ones die, suffer with long-term Covid symptoms or from other illnesses”.

Documents seen by the BBC, understood to be part of a presentation by the government’s pandemic modelling group SPI-M shown to Mr Johnson, show projections by several different groups of the likely course of the disease.

All models predict that hospitalisations are likely to peak in mid-December, with deaths rising until at least late December before falling from early January.

A separate document circulating in government – based on NHS England modelling from 28 October – warns that the NHS would be unable to accept any more patients by Christmas, even if the Nightingale hospitals are used and non-urgent procedures cancelled.

It warns that south-west England and the Midlands will be the first to run out of capacity, potentially within a fortnight.

These latest papers come after a statement from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) revealed that Covid is spreading much faster in England than the predicted “worst-case” scenario.

Anthony Russell charged with Coventry and Leamington murders

A man wanted in connection with the deaths of three people has been charged with murder.

Julie Williams, 58, and her son David, 32, were found at separate flats in Coventry on consecutive days.

The body of Nicole McGregor, 31, was later discovered in woodland in Newbold Comyn, Leamington Spa.

Anthony Russell, 38, of Riley Square, Coventry, was arrested in Staffordshire on Friday and will appear before magistrates in Birmingham on Sunday.

He is further charged with offences related to an alleged car-jacking and a wounding which took place in Leamington on Wednesday, West Midlands Police said.

Post-mortem examinations for the three people were inconclusive, the force said, and further tests would be carried out.

The family of Ms McGregor said: “We wish to thank people for their well wishes. Nicole will be greatly missed. We request to be left alone to grieve at this difficult time.”

Det Insp Jim Mahon said: “Our thoughts remain with the families of Julie, David and Nicole as they come to terms with the tragic circumstances of their deaths.

“Our investigation continues and I would urge anyone with information who have not yet spoken to us, to get in touch.”

Antony Russell charged with murder over Coventry and Leamington deaths

A man wanted in connection with the deaths of three people has been charged with murder.

Julie Williams, 58, and her son David, 32, were found at separate flats in Coventry on consecutive days this week.

The body of Nicole McGregor, 31, was discovered in woodland in Newbold Comyn, Leamington Spa, on Thursday.

Anthony Russell, 38, of Riley Square, Coventry was arrested in Staffordshire on Friday and will appear before magistrates in Birmingham on Sunday.

He is further charged with offences related to a car-jacking and a section 18 wounding which took place in Leamington on Wednesday, West Midlands Police said.

Post-mortem examinations for the three people were inconclusive, the force said, and further tests would be carried out.

The family of Ms McGregor said: “We wish to thank people for their well wishes. Nicole will be greatly missed. We request to be left alone to grieve at this difficult time.”

Det Insp Jim Mahon said: “Our thoughts remain with the families of Julie, David and Nicole as they come to terms with the tragic circumstances of their deaths.

“Our investigation continues and I would urge anyone with information who have not yet spoken to us, to get in touch.”

Storm Aiden: Freak wave near Isles of Scilly capsizes 34ft yacht

A “freak wave” caused by the gale-force winds during Storm Aiden capsized a 34ft (10m) yacht, the coastguard said.

A man was rescued after getting into difficulty six miles south west of the Isles of Scilly, with “severe” force nine winds in the area.

Falmouth coastguard received a distress signal at about 05:00 BST.

The lone yachtsman was uninjured and his stricken sailing vessel was towed to safety by the St Mary’s RNLI lifeboat in “challenging conditions”.

Ian Guy from the coastguard said: “The yachtsman described being hit by a large freak wave which capsized, rolled and disabled the vessel and with a such a severe gale forecast for the area this morning, it was important to get assistance out to this small sailing vessel quickly.”

Paddy Cochrane from Falmouth coastguard confirmed in the last 24 hours of stormy conditions they had dispatched lifeboat crews from all over Cornwall, the coastguard helicopter and multiple lifeguard rescues on beaches.

He said: “It’s people going down to have a look at the large storm conditions, wave watching and what have you.”

Mr Cochrane said he could “guarantee” they would have a further rescues through the weekend, caused by “people making silly mistakes and getting far too close to very, very dangerous conditions”.

Covid-19: PM set to announce four-week England lockdown

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce a second national lockdown for England as the UK passed one million Covid-19 cases.

Non-essential shops and hospitality will have to close for four weeks, sources told the BBC.

But unlike the restrictions in spring, schools, colleges and universities will be allowed to stay open.

It comes as documents suggested the UK was on course for a much higher death toll than during the first wave.

The lockdown is also expected to include restrictions on travel and is due to come into force on Thursday, lasting until 2 December, BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley said.

Takeaways will be allowed to stay open as pubs, bars and restaurants close and it is expected people will be told they can only meet one person from outside their household outdoors.

The prime minister is due to lead a news conference later, after holding a cabinet meeting to discuss the coronavirus response.

He is set to be joined by England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty and the government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance for the briefing.

The UK recorded another 21,915 confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 1,011,660.

Another 326 people were reported to have died within 28 days of a positive test.

The UK is the ninth country to reach the milestone of a million cases – after the US, India, Brazil, Russia, France, Spain, Argentina and Colombia.

But the true number of infections is expected to be higher due to a lack of widespread testing at the start of the pandemic.

Mr Johnson has so far resisted pressure to introduce nationwide restrictions, saying they would be “disastrous” for the UK’s finances and opting instead for a three-tiered system targeting local areas in England.

Ahead of the news conference, school and university unions called for education institutions to be closed and for teaching to move online in another national lockdown.

The National Education Union said it would be “self-defeating” to ignore how schools helped to spread the virus.

And “the health and safety of the country is being put at risk” by the insistence on keeping in-person teaching on campuses, the University and College Union said.

The month-long lockdown may suppress the virus, but what is less clear is whether the government will be in a better position to stop it rebounding.

There have been calls to fix the test and trace service, but that is easier said than done.

Testing capacity is being increased. In the coming days, the government is expected to announce its labs are able to process 500,000 tests a day. That should allow the system to speed up turnaround times.

But improving the tracing side of the service is likely to be much more difficult.

Councils in England are being encouraged to set up their own local contact tracing teams to support the under-pressure national system.

About a third of areas have now launched their own services and there are some encouraging signs in what’s being achieved.

But questions are quite rightly being asked why this is only happening now as the second wave hits.

Significant levels of transmission are also being seen in care homes and hospitals, where one in six of the new daily admissions are suspected to be cases where patients have caught the virus in hospital.

Expect infection levels to come down quickly – and eventually that to translate to fewer hospital admissions and deaths.

But the true test of the lockdown lies elsewhere.

Elsewhere in the UK, Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said the 17-day “firebreak” there will end as planned on 9 November.

He said that his cabinet will meet on Sunday to “discuss any potential border issues for Wales in light of any announcement by No 10”.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has issued new advice that people should not travel to or from England, except for essential purposes, ahead of the nation’s five-level system of restrictions coming into force on Monday.

Documents seen by the BBC, understood to be part of a presentation by the government’s pandemic modelling group SPI-M shown to Mr Johnson, show projections by several different groups of the likely course of the disease.

All models predict that hospitalisations are likely to peak in mid-December, with deaths rising until at least late December before falling from early January.

A separate document circulating in government – based on NHS England modelling from 28 October – warns that the NHS would be unable to accept any more patients by Christmas, even if the Nightingale hospitals are used and non-urgent procedures cancelled.

It warns that south-west England and the Midlands will be the first to run out of capacity, potentially within a fortnight.

These latest papers come after a statement from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) revealed that Covid is spreading much faster in England than the predicted “worst-case” scenario.

Sinn Féin MLA Catherine Kelly resigns over Covid-19 grant money

West Tyrone MLA Catherine Kelly has become the fourth Sinn Féin official to resign over a failure to return money from a Stormont emergency Covid fund.

It had emerged that three Sinn Féin offices received £10,000 payments from the fund, which have since been repaid.

Ms Kelly was a signatory for an account into which £10,000 was lodged earlier this year.

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald apologised for the ” clear failure to immediately reimburse public money”.

Stormont’s emergency Small Businesses Grant Support Scheme automatically sent out the payments to bank accounts, but it emerged that some of the accounts which received the money were ineligible.

Political party offices were not eligible to receive the cash, which was aimed at supporting small business at the beginning of the first lockdown in March.

In a statement following her resignation, Ms Kelly said: “I have been a signatory to that account for a number of years and as such had a responsibility to ensure it was operated to the highest standard.

“That did not happen in this case.”

She apologised “unreservedly to the party, to those who vote for us and to the wider public”.

Her party president said the failure to return the grant immediately was “unacceptable”.

“Catherine fully accepts that she did not discharge her duties as a public representative in this regard,” she said.

Three other party colleagues, the former Foyle MP Elisha McCallion and two other Sinn Féin officials, resigned earlier this week.

In a statement, Ms McDonald said she had accepted the resignation of Ms Kelly.

“The incorrect lodgement of small business grants into three Sinn Féin accounts came to the attention of the Sinn Féin leadership over the course of Monday and Tuesday last.

“The party’s examination of this matter is now complete. As leader I once again acknowledge and apologise for the clear failure to immediately reimburse public money.”

The party said the funds received by three of its offices had been returned to Land and Property Services, which administered the grant.

But Ms McDonald said the money was only paid back on Monday and Tuesday of this week, months after they were received.

Earlier this week the Department for the Economy revealed that 52 owners of wind turbines and one owner of an anaerobic digester had also received the payment.

Figures released by the Department for the Economy (DfE) show that 24,700 payments were processed under the Small Businesses Grant Support Scheme.

There were 452 payments, totalling more than £4.5m, which were made to those who may not have been eligible.

The DUP, SDLP, Ulster Unionist Party and Alliance have all said that none of their MPs or MLAs received money from the scheme.

On Thursday it emerged that the landlord of a DUP office received a payment from the fund.

DUP leader, and first minister, Arlene Foster said anyone who received money that should not have, must return it.

“It [the scheme] was put in place to help businesses that were struggling at that time, so there is no way politicians or landlords should have been in receipt of that money.

“They have a moral and legal duty to pay that money back,” she said.

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