England’s coronavirus lockdown strategy flip-flops: a timeline


The authorities’s coronavirus strategy for England has modified a variety of occasions for the reason that begin of the November lockdown, as infections soared and a new variant of the virus emerged.

14 October 2020: Johnson dismisses calls from the Labour chief, Keir Starmer, for a “circuit breaker” lockdown, telling MPs “opportunism is the name of the game for the party opposite”.

31 October: The prime minister pronounces a new four-week lockdown in England, shortly after Wales started a two-week circuit breaker.

2 November: Boris Johnson guarantees Tory MPs that lockdown restrictions will finish on 2 December “without a shred of doubt”.

5 November: Four-week lockdown begins in England.

9 November: Wales ends its two-week lockdown.

13 November: The UK pronounces a shorter quarantine for travellers by a “test and release” programme from 15 December.

23 November: The authorities publishes a toughened three-tier system, which now requires areas within the highest tier to shut pubs and eating places.

2 December: National lockdown ends and new tier restrictions are enforced. London and far of the south-east, the place circumstances are quickly rising, are positioned in tier 2, with eating places and pubs open for these in the identical family to eat indoors and households in a position to combine outdoor.

14 December: Ahead of the formal evaluation date, London, most of Essex and elements of Hertfordshire transfer into tier 3 as Matt Hancock says a new variant of Covid-19 is inflicting the virus to unfold sooner. The British Medical Journal and Health Service Journal publish a joint editorial calling on the federal government to cancel plans for five-day Christmas mixing of as much as three households.

15 December: Downing Street briefs that Johnson will face down calls to restrict Christmas restrictions. Gove meets the devolved administrations and agrees to maintain Christmas plans as beforehand determined.

16 December: Johnson tells a No 10 press convention: “I want to be clear, we don’t want to ban Christmas, to cancel it … I think that would be frankly inhuman and against the instincts of many people in this country … Nor do we want to criminalise plans people may have made for some time.”

19 December: Johnson pronounces new tier 4 restrictions throughout the south-east of England, the place households banned from mixing at Christmas and non-essential outlets closed. Households in decrease tiers can now combine solely on Christmas Day. Nicola Sturgeon pronounces that the entire of Scotland will enter the nation’s hardest degree 4 restrictions, and journey to and from the remainder of the UK is banned.

20 December: Countries around the globe announce restrictions on travel from the UK in response to the brand new variant.

22 December: Sage scientists privately warn the federal government in opposition to colleges reopening as deliberate.


28 December Mounting stress for colleges to shut comes from unions and lecturers. Allies of the schooling secretary, Gavin Williamson, transient that he’s mounting a “rearguard action”.

30 December The authorities confirms tier 4 restrictions will likely be prolonged in England to the entire north-east, Greater Manchester, massive elements of the Midlands and south-west, which means virtually eight in 10 folks will likely be within the hardest restrictions from New Year’s Eve. The remainder of the nation, apart from the Isles of Scilly, strikes into tier 3. Williamson pronounces that colleges in some English areas with excessive ranges of Covid-19 will stay closed after the Christmas vacation for the primary week or two of January, reversing his previous stance.

3 January 2021: Johnson says dad and mom in England ought to ship main faculty youngsters to high school on Monday morning, telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “Schools are safe. It is very, very important to stress that and the risk to kids, to young people … to staff is very small.”

4 January: Johnson says there is “no question” the federal government might want to toughen coronavirus restrictions to deal with fast-rising an infection ranges. Amid mounting requires a main change of strategy, the prime minister announces that he’ll give a press convention at 8pm and parliament will likely be recalled on 6 January.



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