Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night (January 4) announced a third national lockdown set to last for at least six weeks.

The measures took effect “straight away” and are the toughest introduced since the first national lockdown last spring.

The news comes amid rising concerns over a huge spike in a mutated version of Covid-19.

People can’t leave their homes except for essential reasons, including medical needs, exercise, food shopping, and work for those who cannot do so from home.

Essential stores, such as food shops, pharmacies, off-licences, supermarkets, garden centres, hardware stores and building merchants can remain open, however non-essential retail must close.

Restaurants can continue to offer delivery services for food, but takeaway alcohol has been banned.

Schools will close until mid-February, although vulnerable children and the children of key workers can still attend. End-of-year exams, including GCSEs and A Levels, will not go ahead this summer.

Early years settings, including nurseries, will remain accessible.

Outdoor sports venues – such as golf courses and outdoor gyms – all have to close.

People can exercise in the form of walks and runs in their local parks or areas.

Addressing the nation, the Prime Minister said: “I want to say to everyone right across the UK that I know how tough this is.

“And I know how frustrated you are and I know that you have had more than enough of Government guidance about defeating this virus. But now, more than ever, we must pull together.”

He added: “Thanks to the miracle of science, not only is the end in sight but we know exactly how we will get there.”

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