England is in the midst of its third national lockdown since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The development of a new Covid variant, dubbed the ‘Kent’ strain, has contributed to several new cases in the UK since its discovery in late 2020, which prompted the Government to issue the current lockdown.
The lockdown guidance, which was passed overwhelmingly by MPs in a Commons vote this month, allows the Government to keep the current lockdown in place until the end of March.
When the lockdown was tabled to MPs, the Prime Minister said the lockdown would be subject to regular reviews every two weeks, and that the lockdown would not be kept in place for longer than is necessary.
While England’s medical and scientific officers have suggested lockdown is starting to have an impact on the rate of Covid transmission, cases in the UK remain significant.
As of January 25, 22,195 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in the UK, and 592 people died within 28 days of a positive Covid test.
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Many are questioning whether schools may be allowed to return in the near future, with millions of pupils currently taking part in home-learning.
Earlier this month, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said he hoped England’s schools would be able to reopen before Easter.
However this week Mr Johnson could not guarantee this would be the case.
The Prime Minister said: “We want to see schools back as fast as possible, we want to do that in a way that is consistent with fighting the epidemic and keeping the infection rate down.”