England will enter into a second national lockdown at midnight, it has been confirmed on Wednesday after MPs approved the new restrictions, which are set to be in place from 5 November until 2 December.
The new lockdown rules passed through parliament with 516 votes to 38, a majority of 478.
— Balance of Power (@BalancePowerUK) November 4, 2020
Therefore, from Thursday onwards, pubs, restaurants, and non-essential shops will have be forced to close their doors again. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly claimed that without the new restrictions, the National Health Services faces ‘existential threat’ if the spread of Covid-19 is not curbed.
The move follows NHS in England ready to move to its highest alert level – level 4 – from midnight as coronavirus patients needing hospital care begin to rise.
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the service currently had "22 hospitals worth" of Covid-19 patients and described the situation ahead as "serious".
While the opposition Labour Party backed the new lockdown restrictions and the Government’s expected to pass the law with a clear majority, Mr Johnson faces increasing backlash from some Conservative MPs, led by former prime minister Theresa May – arguing that the economic impact of the lockdown will curtail civil liberties and cause economic harm.
Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who supports the lockdown, has acknowledged that the second lockdown will have a "significant impact" on the economy and society.
The Prime Minister attempted to calm MPs concerns that the measures will mean shops and businesses will be able to reopen in time for Christmas. However, he acknowledged that it would depend on the 'R' reproduction rate of the virus falling below 1.