COVID-19: Boris Johnson announces schools to close tomorrow with new national lockdown

Prime minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street. Picture: Andrew Parsons/10 D

Prime minister Boris Johnson announced a new national lockdown due to the new variant of COVID-19 spreading through England. Picture: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire - Credit: Archant

A new national lockdown will take place from tomorrow following an announcement from the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

One of the main causes for the lockdown is the new variant of COVID-19 which is around 50 to 70 per cent more transmissible.

The prime minister told the nation that hospitals are currently under more pressure than any other time in the pandemic and that 80,000 positive coronavirus cases were recorded on a single day last week, December 29.

This means that primary schools, secondary schools and colleges across England will be closed tomorrow except for vulnerable children and the children of key workers, until at least the February half-term.

Early years settings, like nurseries, will still be accessible for everyone.

Other consequences of the lockdown include alternative arrangements for exams and continuing free school meals.

For more specific details of the lockdown visit here.

Mr Johnson addressed the question as to why he allowed schools to reopen, or didn't close them sooner.

Most Read

He said: "We have been doing everything in out power to keep schools open because we know how important each day in education is to children's life chances."

He stressed that schools are not unsafe but may act as a 'vectors for  transmission', causing the virus to spread across households.

Earlier today the UK coronavirus alert level was raised to Level 5 as NHS 'may be overwhelmed' within 21 days if action isn't taken.

The prime minister ended the address on a positive note, saying that so far there have been more vaccinations in the UK than the rest of Europe combined.

Adding that if things go to plan by the middle of February the first dose for everyone in the four top priority groups will have been administered. 

This includes care home residents and  their carers, everyone over the age of 70, front line health and social workers and everyone who is clinically vulnerable.

Boris ended the address saying he believes we are entering the last phase of the struggle thanks to 'the miracle of science'.

His final message was: "Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives."

David Williams, leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said: “The government has announced that England will enter a national lockdown from later this evening (00.01, January 5). We recognise this will have a marked impact on residents and businesses, but appreciate these extreme measures are deemed necessary to keep everyone in our community safe. 

“I would like to issue my reassurance that Hertfordshire County Council will continue to work closely with its partners to deliver vital services across the county, as well as supporting the education sector, and businesses in the region through our work with Hertfordshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). 

"My heartfelt thanks to all staff on the frontline and in supporting roles who continue to play their part in the momentous effort to prevail over COVID-19.”

For up to date information about Hertfordshire County Council services and how they will be delivered please visit