The Prime Minister has announced that we must enter a national lockdown and I wish to inform you of the new restrictions that will become law on Wednesday 6th January, but should be adhered to from today (Tuesday 5th January).
This lockdown is necessary because on 29th December, more than 80,000 people tested positive for COVID-19 in the UK. The number of deaths has sharply risen by 20 per cent over the last week and will sadly rise further – especially without robust action.
The UK’s Chief Medical Officers have advised that the country should move into alert level 5 – meaning that if action is not taken NHS capacity may be overwhelmed within 21 days – it is clear that these measures are now essential. Parliament has been recalled to debate these measures tomorrow, with these new restrictions due to be formally reviewed on 15th February.
Now more than ever, we must pull together to follow the new rules. The weeks ahead will, unfortunately, be the hardest yet, but the Government is confident that we are entering the last phase of our war against COVID-19 – because each jab that goes into our arms represents a battle victory and leads us ever closer to our final victory.
As ever, my team and I stand ready to support each of you however we can through this most difficult time. Please do not hesitate to be in touch by emailing me at Alicia.firstname.lastname@example.org
You must not leave, or be outside of your home, except where necessary. You may leave your home to:
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
- exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
- seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm
- to escape domestic abuse
- attend education or childcare - for those eligible
- If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.
- Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term.
- Early Years settings remain open for all.
- Higher Education provision will remain online until mid-February for all except future critical worker courses.
We recognise that this will mean it is not possible or fair for all exams to go ahead this summer as normal. The Education Secretary will work with Ofqual to put in place alternative arrangements. We will provide extra support to ensure that pupils entitled to free school meals will continue to receive them while schools are closed, and we’ll distribute more devices to support remote education.
The hope is to re-open schools after the February half term and starting, cautiously, to move regions down the tiers.
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, we are advising you to begin shielding again and you will shortly receive a letter about what this means for you.
- You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).
- You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.
- You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.
- Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.