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National lockdown could be in place by ‘middle of January’
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Most of England is currently in Tier 4, but now the government is facing calls to enforce a national lockdown to deal with the increase of coronavirus cases.
Three-quarters of the country’s population are now living under the highest restrictions after 20 million more people were put in Tier 4 on New Year’s Eve.
Tier 4 measures include a "Stay at home" message, with non-essential shops closing, as well as hairdressers and gyms.
But pressure has now mounted for the government to act far more swiftly with even tougher, national restrictions in order to regain control of the situation.
Here is everything we know about when the next national lockdown could be.
When will there be another national lockdown?
Currently, there has been no official confirmation of the date for the next national lockdown, but we should know more tonight.
However, the Daily Telegraph has reported that England could be back in lockdown by the middle of January.
According to the newspaper, plans are currently being drawn up for the return of shielding.
And tonight, at 8pm, Mr Johnson will announce the next steps to the nation.
A No10 spokesman said: "The Prime Minister is clear that further steps must now be taken to arrest this rise and to protect the NHS and save lives.
"He will set those out this evening."
The Daily Mail says that the government committee, Covid-O, will meet today to discuss changes to the strategy.
It quoted a government source, saying ministers are looking at putting even more areas of England into Tier 4.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed Brits face "tougher" weeks ahead, and that the government would announce new measures in "due course".
On January 4, Mr Johnson said: "It may be that we need to do things in the next few weeks that will be tougher in many parts of the country. I’m fully, fully reconciled to that."
Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said national restrictions should be brought in "within the next 24 hours" because the virus is "clearly out of control".
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He said it wasn’t enough hinting that "further restrictions are coming into place in a week or two or three".
Sir Keir added: "So I say bring in those restrictions now, national restrictions within the next 24 hours. That has to be the first step to controlling the virus."
During an interview on The Andrew Marr Show, on January 3, Mr Johnson refused to rule of curfews, a return to a single hour of exercise a day and a ban on household mixing.
Previously, Mr Johnson said the government want to avoid another national lockdown like the ones in March and November.
However, that depends on the impact the Tier 4 system has had on preventing the spread of coronavirus, particularly with the new strain.
- Boris Johnson
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