SCHOOLS in Worcestershire and the rest of the country have been ordered to close by Boris Johnson who announced a third national lockdown tonight.
Primary and secondary schools are not expected to reopen until mid-February half term and exams will be scrapped in favour of a more ‘fair system’.
Learning will continue online and remotely from tomorrow, except for vulnerable children and the children of key workers. Nurseries and early learning centres will still be open.
The new national lockdown, which comes into effect immediately, marks a return to the March-style lockdown where schools are shut and non-essential shops and the hospitality sector closed.
People were told they must stay at home, only leaving for: essentials, to work if they cannot work from home, to exercise, to seek medical assistance (such as getting a Covid test), to escape domestic abuse or to care for a vulnerable person.
Covid-19 deaths are up by 20 per cent, the PM said, and the number of patients in hospitals has risen by a third in the last week alone – to over 27,000.
The government expects to have offered a first vaccine dose to everyone in the four top priority groups by the middle of February.
This means vaccinating everyone over the age of 70, residents in care homes, their carers and all health and social care workers.
So far around 1million people have been jabbed and that number will ‘double soon’, according to government chiefs.
Only yesterday Mr Johnson urged parents to send their children back to school, claiming it was ‘safe’ despite an ongoing public backlash.
Labour leader Keir Starmer disagreed saying that a new national lockdown was needed ‘as soon as possible’.
Tonight Mr Starmer said: “The figures are very stark and these measures are necessary.
“Therefore we support the packages of measures that the prime minister has just outlined.
“I think whatever our criticisms and challenges of the government we’ve all got to pull together now to make this work over the next few weeks and months.”