National lockdown rules explained – what you can and can’t do

BORIS Johnson has announced current national lockdown measures will be extended until at least March 8.

With Covid deaths and hospitalistations still higher than at any time during the pandemic, the PM today confirmed restrictions will continue into Spring.

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A roadmap for the lifting of restrictions will be laid out from February 24.

The Government hopes by then 13.5 million of the most vulnerable Brits will have received a Covid vaccine.

Some schools will be re-opened from March 8, with Mr Johnson telling the House of Commons social restrictions would be eased after that.

The measures were brought in on January 4 to help contain a new mutant Covid strain which was first detected in Kent.

During the current lockdown cases have fallen from a high of around 68,000 on January 9 to just over 20,000 yesterday.

It came as:

  • The PM has urged the EU to ditch its threat to block vaccine exports
  • Summer holidays could be saved in list of Covid quarantine countries
  • 'Real danger' some schools could be closed until SUMMER
  • A new Covid antibody drug could stop 100% of symptoms
  • Common symptoms of the new Covid strain are different to original

So here's a reminder of the current rules after the PM's announcement.

What are you allowed to do?

Under the new restrictions, Brits can only leave home for limited reasons.

People will only be allowed out of their homes to buy essential food and medicine supplies, attend medical appointments, and exercise.

Brits can go to work if it cannot be done from home, provide care for a vulnerable person and attend education if eligible.

Are schools and nurseries staying closed?

Schools will remain closed until at least March 8, after which some children will be allowed back to class.

However, it looks likely any return to school will be staggered, with primary schools and areas with lower levels of cases expected to be the first to return.

Exams for this summer have been cancelled with further announcements expected in the near future.

Mr Johnson told MPs this afternoon: "It will not be possible to reopen schools immediately after February half-term.

"So our plan for leaving the lockdown will set out our approach for reopening schools.

"If we achieve our target of vaccinating everyone in the four most vulnerable groups, with their first dose by February 15, and every passing day sees more progress towards that goal.

"Then those groups that have developed immunity from the virus about three weeks later, that is, by the March 8, we hope it will therefore be safe to begin the reopening of schools from Monday, March 8."

Can I visit other people's homes?

Brits must follow stay-at-home guidance, which is enforceable by law.

People should not mix with other households but support bubbles and childcare bubbles will remain.

Children who have parents separated will continue to be able to move between households as they have throughout.

Can I go the pub?

Under the current rules takeaway alcohol is banned.

Brits had previously been allowed to buy a takeaway pint from the pub to enjoy. 

But the current rules mean that pubs won't even be allowed to do that.

Are weddings and funerals allowed to take place?

Weddings and civil ceremonies may only take place in exceptional circumstances.

Up to six people can attend a wedding or equivalent ceremony.

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people.

Can you exercise under the new restrictions?

Under the new measures, Brits are only allowed to exercise with one other person.

The rules mean that you will have to be exercising so you cannot sit on the bench with them. 

Outdoor sports venues will be closed but playgrounds will be allowed to stay open. 

Can you travel under the new restrictions?

The new rules mean that Brits will not be able to travel unless absolutely necessary.

Only essential travel, such as for work purposes, is allowed.

This means that holidays are off the agenda for the foreseeable future.

What about family arrangements?

Children with separated parents will be allowed to continue to see both parents.

They will not have to make the choice whether to see one parent or the other.

Can I still move home?

Brits are still allowed to move home but social distancing guidelines must be observed.

Only people within your household or support bubble should help you move.

Friends and family outside of your support bubble will be unable to help.

Can I still volunteer? 

Despite the new lockdown restrictions, volunteering remains allowed.

Under the new rules, Brits are allowed to leave home to provide voluntary or charitable services.

Social distancing guidelines must be observed and masks must be worn if indoors.

Can I still go to hospital?

Yes, Brits can still go to hospital despite the lockdown restrictions.

You can leave your home for a medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies.

The move to extend lockdown coincides with tighter border measures meaning people entering the UK from a number of high-risk countries will have to stay in quarantine hotels on arrival.

The rules will include South Africa and Brazil where new strains have emerged, alongside Portugal, and the Cape Verde Islands.

But summer holiday favourites, like Spain, France and Greece will be exempt.

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