RESIDENTS have been urged to stay at home as the country is to go into a national lockdown.
In a televised speech last night, the Prime Minister announced that England will enter a new lockdown as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.
People have been told to leave home only to go to work if the cannot work from home, to exercise, to buy necessities, to seek medical help and to escape domestic abuse.
Primary and secondary schools as well as colleges will move to online learning but will remain open for vulnerable pupils and children of key workers.
Addressing the nation the Prime Minister said: “We should remain conscious of the timetable ahead but if our understanding of the virus doesn’t change dramatically once again, if the rollout of the vaccine programme continues to be successful, if deaths start to fall as the vaccine takes effect and if everyone plays their part by following the rules then I hope we can steadily move out of lockdown, reopening schools after the February half term.”
Those deemed Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) will also have to start shielding again.
The news comes as the new variant of Covid-19 spreading across the country is believed to be between 50% and 70% more transmissible than the original one.
Residents across Hampshire have been urged to follow the rules.
Cllr Keith Mans, leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “Over the past seven days, we have seen the number of positive cases rise substantially. This is of huge concern .Now more than ever we must work together to keep ourselves, our loved ones and our communities safe.”
MPs across the county backed the announcement of a new lockdown.
Paul Holmes, MP for Eastleigh, described the move as “necessary to save lives and protect the NHS”.
He added: “The new vaccination programme is unprecedented in scale and will help in the fight against the virus. This will in turn mean we can ease restrictions and get back to normal in the Spring.”
Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead said the lockdown is “the best option available”.
He added: “I just wish that the Prime Minister had been more decisive last week and avoided the anxiety experienced by schools and parents who, have been agonising over the weekend about whether to send children into schools. Despite any criticisms I have over the timing of the Prime Ministers decision, I urge people in our city to comply with the rules, we have light at the end of the tunnel with the roll out of the vaccine, but we need to stop the levels of infections we are seeing until then. As tough as this will be in the coming months we all need to do our bit.”
Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith added: ” We won’t get on top of this awful disease unless we all do everything we can to stop its transmission. That means following the rules to ensure we protect ourselves and others until we can roll out the vaccinations.”