BORIS Johnson has said he wants to "avoid" a national lockdown but another shutdown could be on the cards as coronavirus infections continue to rise.
Wales and Northern Ireland will enter short-term lockdowns after Christmas and it's possible that England and Scotland will follow suit.
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Will there be a third national lockdown?
A third national coronavirus lockdown in England has not yet been announced.
But with the rapid rise in cases following the new Covid strain, it is more likely than not that another shutdown will be introduced.
Since exiting the four-week lockdown on December 2, England has been under a much stricter three-tiered local lockdown system.
Two-thirds of the country – 38.4million people – are living under Tier 3 restrictions.
In Tier 3 areas, pubs, restaurants and other hospitality have been forced to close, but can do takeaway, delivery and drive through.
Indoor entertainment venues are also shut- including cinemas, casinos, bowling alleys, soft play and other venues.
There is a ban on mixing between different households.
Businesses that have been forced to close are able to access the same furlough package of support that they had before.
There are fears of England entering another national lockdown as families in Northern Ireland were told they faced a six-week clamp down from Boxing Day (December 26) and Wales will be put into a three week shutdown from December 28.
Another lockdown in Scotland has not been ruled out.
What will the coronavirus lockdown rules be?
A stay at home order is likely to be force if there was another shutdown.
Brits are likely to be advised that they should work from home, and non-essential retail would close.
Pubs, bars and restaurants would be shut as would gyms and hairdressers.
It's likely that household mixing would be banned and internal UK-wide travel would be discouraged.
Schools, universities and colleges remained open during the lockdown in November.
Term time has been staggered so students that are not in exam years will be returning from January 11 – a week later than expected.
Will there be a third covid wave?
Coronavirus infections are certainly on the rise.
The Office for National Statistics estimated around 567,300 people in England had COVID-19 last week compared to 481,500 the previous week.
Despite England's four-week national lockdown ending only a fortnight ago, positive cases reached another 35,000 on December 17.
A new strain of coronavirus has been discovered in the South-East of England and health ministers fear it is "frighteningly transmissible".
A government source told The Sun: "What we do not know yet is whether the new strain is more or less likely to cause you harm, but what we have learnt is that it will pass to person to person much more easily and that is what we are really worried about."
The new strain is being blamed for a sudden uptick in hospitalisations in London.
And there are fears that people are catching it despite wearing PPE and socially distancing, pointing again to a surge in the virus's ability to spread.
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