Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the whole of England will be placed under additional coronavirus restrictions for at least one month.
The restrictions will come into effect from 1 minute past midnight on Thursday and last until December 2nd.
In a Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson confirmed that all non-essential retail shops will be forced to close, however schools, colleges and universities will remain open.
The Prime Minister urged parents to continue to take their children to school.
Households will not be allowed to mix inside apart from for childcare reasons. Restaurants, cafes and pubs will close.
Families and individuals will be permitted to leave their home for exercise.
Workplaces should stay open where working from home is not possible, particularly in the manufacturing and construction industries.
Mr Johnson confirmed that the furlough scheme will be extended through November.
NHS patients are asked to continue to use the service as instructed by their clinicians, and to continue to attend scans and appointments. “Clinically vulnerable” patients are asked to minimise contact with those outside their household.
Households will still be able to maintain a support bubble with one household. Children with divorced parents are permitted to move between houses, and childcare provisions are still available between households.
The measures come after leaked documents revealed that SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) confirmed to the government on 8th October that the levels of UK deaths are currently above the ‘worst-case scenario’ predicted earlier in the year.
SAGE has been recommending a ‘circuit breaker’ local to the government since September 21st.
Professor Chris Whitty said the cases had rises “extremely rapidly over the last few weeks” and the NHS had seen an “increase in virtually every part of the country.”
Mr Johnson said: “Now is the time to take action. There is no alternative.”