Lockdown WILL begin tomorrow as MPs approve plans for new month-long shutdown in England

Published: 4 November 2020, 5:10 PM

Post Desk : MPs have backed a new four-week coronavirus lockdown for England meaning the national restrictions will come into force later.

The shutdown will run from Thursday until December 2 after MPs approved the regulations for a second lockdown by 516 votes to 38.

The overwhelming majority of 478 came after Boris Johnson warned of an “existential threat” to the NHS without action to curb the spread of the virus.

From Thursday, pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops will again be forced to close their doors.

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.

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.

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