New restrictions were announced by Boris Johnson as he outlined a second national lockdown - including measures for those previously shielding.
As he addressed the nation about the new full lockdown coming into effect at 12.01am on Thursday, the Prime Minister said the elderly and at-risk would not have to shield like they did during the first lockdown in March.
People are being told stay at home again to protect the NHS from the coronavirus pandemic.
Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable won't be asked to shield, but they will be asked to minimise contact with others and not go to work if they’re unable to work from home, Mr Johnson said.
This group includes all over 70s and people with conditions like diabetes and asthma.
The only reasons people can leave their homes under the new lockdown are for education; working if you cannot work from home; for exercise and recreation outdoors, either with your own household or in a bubble, or on your own with one person from another household or bubble; for medical reasons, appointments; to escape injury or harm, including domestic abuse; to shop for food and essentials; and to provide care for vulnerable people or as a volunteer.
The Prime Minister has announced the re-introduction of rules limiting movement and contact after huge spikes in infection rates and hospital admissions across the country over the past few weeks.
He has told the people across the country they must 'stay at home as much as possible', with a swathes businesses ordered to shut under the new measures.
Mr Johnson said 'no responsible Prime Minister can ignore' the rising rates of Covid-19 infections, as he acknowledged that cases had not come down fast enough in the worst affected areas.
“I’m afraid no responsible Prime Minister can ignore the message of those figures,” he said.
“We know the cost of these restrictions – the impact on jobs and livelihoods, and people’s mental health. No one wants to be imposing these measures.”
The Prime Minister thanked people who had been 'putting up with' local restrictions.
But he warned: “We’ve got to be humble in the face of nature… the virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst case scenario of our scientific advisers.
“Unless we act, we could see deaths in this country running at several thousand a day – a peak of mortality, alas, bigger than the one we saw in April.”
The Prime Minister said overrunning of the NHS would be a 'medical and moral disaster, beyond the raw loss of life'.
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He added: “Doctors and nurses would be forced to choose which patients to treat, who would get oxygen and who wouldn’t, who would live and who would die.
“Doctors and nurses would be forced to choose between saving Covid patients and non-Covid patients.
“The sheer weight of Covid demand would mean depriving tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, if not millions of non-Covid patients of the care they need.”
He added: “The risk is, for the first time in our lives, the NHS will not be there for us.”
The lockdown will be put in place from Thursday and run until Wednesday December 2.
Mr Johnson said the three-tier system would then be introduced regionally upon its conclusion.