Published: 19:19, 31 October 2020
| Updated: 20:21, 31 October 2020
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a second national lockdown for England in a bid to curb the rise in coronavirus cases.
Everything bar essential shops, nurseries, universities and schools will shut for a month from Thursday, with only takeaways and deliveries permitted at pubs and restaurants.
There will be no mixing of people inside homes, except for childcare and other forms of support.
The restrictions - which are similar to those introduced during the first lockdown in March - allow people to exercise outdoors and travel to work if they cannot work from home.
The four-week lockdown was confirmed at a press conference this evening and will come into force on Thursday, lasting until Wednesday, December 2.
But Mr Johnson says he is "optimistic" the situation will be "very different and better by the spring".
"The virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst-case scenario of our scientific advisers," he said.
"Unless we act, we could see deaths in this country running at several thousand a day - a peak of mortality bigger than the one we saw in April.
"Now is the time to take action because there is no alternative.
"From Thursday until the start of December, you must stay at home and may only leave home for specific reasons."
One of the biggest developments revealed at the briefing was an extension of the government's furlough scheme, which had come to an end today.
The financial support scheme will now run until the start of December.
"We will get through this, but we must act now to contain this autumn surge"
Mr Johnson said: "I am under no illusions about how difficult this will be for businesses who have had to endure so much hardship this year.
"That's why we are going to extend the furlough system through November - it was a success in the spring and we will not end it."
Mr Johnson says his priority "remains keeping people in education".
"We cannot let this virus damage our children's futures even more than it has already," he said.
Looking ahead to the festive season, he said: "Christmas is going to be different this year, perhaps very different.
"But it is my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now, we can allow families across the country to be together.
"We will get through this, but we must act now to contain this autumn surge.
"We are not going back to the full-scale lockdown of March and April, but from Thursday the basic message is the same: stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives."
According to government data, more than a million people have now tested positive for the coronavirus in the UK since the start of the outbreak.
Earlier today, NHS England announced a further 326 deaths from the disease in the past 24 hours.
The UK death toll now stands at 46,555.