Saturday, 28 Nov 2020

Lockdown will come in at midnight after MPs back Boris' coronavirus plan

England will go into a second national lockdown at midnight, it has been confirmed.

MPs overwhelmingly approved the the new restrictions, which are set to last from November 5 until December 2, by 516 votes to 38, a majority of 478.

It means that from Thursday, pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops will again be forced to close their doors after the Commons backed the plan.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously warned of an ‘existential threat’ to the NHS without action to curb the spread of Covid-19.

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The move came as the NHS in England was set to move into its highest alert level – level 4 – from midnight amid a continuing rise in coronavirus patients needing hospital care.

NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the service already had ’22 hospitals’ worth’ of Covid-19 patients and now faced a ‘serious situation ahead’.

With Labour supporting the new lockdown restrictions – which were also expected to be approved by the House of Lords later on Wednesday – the Government’s majority was never in doubt.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: ‘I’m glad today Parliament voted to 
support the measures needed to control coronavirus, by a majority of 478.

‘We must all work together to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.’

However Mr Johnson faced an angry backlash from some Tory MPs – led by former prime minister Theresa May – alarmed at the economic impact of the controls as well as the curtailment of civil liberties.

In the Commons, the Prime Minister sought to reassure MPs that the measures – which are due to expire on December 2 – should enable shops and businesses to reopen in time for the run-up to Christmas.

He acknowledged however that it would depend on getting the R number – the reproduction rate of the virus – back down below 1.

This is a breaking story – more to follow.

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