Boris Johnson announces four-week national shutdown from Thursday

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A four-week lockdown will be imposed across all of England on 5 November, closing pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops and with a ban on foreign travel.

Mixing with other households inside homes is also to be outlawed, except for childcare, but schools and universities will remain open and outdoor exercise allowed.

Boris Johnson confirmed the screeching U-turn at a press conference on Saturday evening – after he repeatedly said the so-called “circuit break” recommended by his scientists would not be necessary.

The prime minister ridiculed the idea when it was backed by Labour leader Keir Starmer, insisting his three-tier approach of looser restrictions would tame Covid-19 – but infections have continued to surge.

Now, England will return to a lockdown very similar to the shutdown imposed in March, with advice not to travel unless for work, education or healthcare.

Takeaways and food deliveries will be permitted and supermarkets will not have to prevent the sale of non-essential goods – after the move backfired and was ridiculed in Wales.

But church services will stop once more – although private prayer will continue – and overnight stays away from home will be allowed for work purposes only.

The government is hopeful the harsh measures will “save Christmas”, allowing a return to some sort of normality for the festive season – but only if infections and deaths can be curbed.

Source: The independent