Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a third national lockdown and shut schools amid rising infection rates.

The new announcement calls for everyone to not travel unnecessarily and work from home if possible to prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed.

In a major U-turn, the PM has ordered primary and secondary schools to close immediately and move to online learning for all pupils except children of key workers and the most vulnerable.

In a televised address to the nation this evening, the Prime Minister told the nation to stay indoors other than for limited exceptions, with measures expected to last until mid-February.

And the Prime Minister bowed to significant pressure to order primary schools, secondaries and colleges to move to remote teaching for the majority of students from Tuesday.

Mr Johnson said the new variant - which is 50% to 70% more transmissible - was spreading in a "frustrating and alarming" manner.

"As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals are under more pressure from Covid than at any time since the start of the pandemic," he said.

The lockdown will be brought into law as soon as possible, but Mr Johnson urged the public to follow the rules straight away.

Mr Johnson's statement came after the chief medical officers for the first time raised the UK to the highest level on the Covid-19 alert system.
They warned the NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed within 21 days "in several areas" without further action.

The restrictions are unlikely to be eased until around 13 million people aged over 70 or classed as clinically extremely vulnerable have received the vaccine and been given enough time to be protected - a period of about two to three weeks after getting the jab.

Strong stay at home messaging will return, with leaving only permitted for limited exceptions such as shopping for necessities including food and medicine.

Here are the key points from Boris Johnson's address to the nation:

- People will only be allowed to leave their house for limited reasons
Mr Johnson said residents can leave their homes for shopping for necessities such as food and medicine, but only as infrequently as possible.
- Exercise will be allowed - preferably limited to once a day - with members of your household or support bubble or one other person from another household, such as if going for a walk or run.
- People will be able to go to work if it is impossible to work from home, such as those working in the construction sector or who are critical workers. All others must work from home.
- Cleaners and other trades people will still be able to work in people's homes.
- The lockdown is expected to stay in place until the middle of February and police will have enforcement powers
The lockdown comes into force immediately and is expected to go on until the middle of February. The start of the February school half-term is scheduled for the middle of the month.
- All schools will move to remote learning
All primary and secondary schools and colleges will move to remote learning, except for the children of keyworkers or vulnerable children.
Early years settings such as nurseries and childminders can remain open, and existing childcare bubbles will be allowed to stay in place.
University students will not be allowed to return to campus and will be expected to study from their current residence.
In-person university teaching will only take place for a small number of critical courses.
- Churches can stay open
Places of worship can remain open for individual prayers and communal worship, but people should only visit with their household or support bubble.
Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and funerals are allowed with strict limits on attendance.
- Shops will close in all areas
All non-essential shops, hairdressers and personal care venues must close.
Supermarkets, builders' merchants and garden centres can stay open.
Restaurants and other hospitality venues can continue delivery or takeaway, but people will not be able to add alcohol to that order.
- Those who shield should not go to work
Those who are clinically vulnerable and who were previously told to shield should stay at home and only leave for medical appointments and exercise.
They are advised not to go to work even if they cannot work from home.
- Playgrounds will remain open
But outdoor gyms, tennis courts and golf courses must close, and outdoor team sports will not be permitted.
Premier League and other elite sports that already have in place strict testing regimes and their own bubbles will be allowed to continue.

People across the whole country must now stay at home apart from five exceptions:

  • for work, if people cannot work from home, such as those in the construction sector or key workers
  • to shop for necessities such as food or medicines
  • to exercise once per day at a local location. This can include with one other person from outside someone's household or support/childcare bubble
  • to provide care or help to vulnerable people
  • ​to attend medical appointments or medical care, or to flee the threat of harm or violence.
  • ​All primary schools, secondary schools and colleges will move to online learning from tomorrow.
  • ​However, nurseries can remain open while childcare and support bubbles will stay in place.