In a televised address to the nation last night, the Prime Minister announced a return to lockdown restrictions similar to those introduced at the start of the pandemic last March.
He said the public would only be allowed to leave the house for certain exceptions including shopping for essentials and exercise.
All schools are to shut until at least February half term and will only remain open for children of key workers and those from vulnerable families.
University students are told not to return to campuses and for the vast majority of courses to be delivered online throughout the lockdown.
Summary: what you can and cannot do during the national lockdown
You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
You should follow this guidance immediately. The law will be updated to reflect these new rules.
You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:
shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
attend education or childcare - for those eligible
Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.
Higher Education provision will remain online until mid February for all except future critical worker courses.
If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.
You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).
You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.
You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.
Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.
Full details of the new rules can be found here