Despite initially looking forward to a relaxation of the rules over Christmas, following a surge in cases and a new variant of Covid, Boris Johnson plunged London and the South East into tier four restrictions for Christmas.
From Boxing Day, places such as Cambridgeshire and Norfolk will join those areas, with 43% of the population of England facing the toughest rules from this date.
This means no mixing with any other households in these areas, and in the other tiers, the number of households who can mix on Christmas dropped from three to two.
With the new variant carrying a higher transmission rate and many people already having travelled to different parts of the country before the rules changed, it’s possible coronavirus cases could continue to climb for some time.
Will this result in a third nationwide lockdown?
Will there be a third lockdown?
It is not yet known whether there will be a third lockdown, but Boris Johnson has refused to rule it out.
On a visit to Greater Manchester, the PM said: ‘We’re hoping very much that we will be able to avoid anything like that.
‘But the reality is that the rates of infection have increased very much in the last few weeks.’
Despite not referring to it as a lockdown directly, the latest update means 24 million people in England will be forced to observe tough measures akin to the ones experienced during the last lockdown in November.
The outlook is shared across the other countries in the UK.
In Scotland, Covid restrictions will be relaxed for Christmas Day, but immediately afterwards, mainland Scotland will be placed under the toughest level four restrictions.
The Scottish level four restrictions are similar to the English ones, with a ban on indoor socialising and the closure of all non essential retail.
Unlike England, the return of schools in Scotland will be pushed back, with face to face teaching not returning until January 18.
Wales will also see a full lockdown implemented, with just one exception for Christmas Day.
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