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England’s second COVID-19 lockdown: What international students should know

England is set to enter a second COVID-19 lockdown next Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced. Unlike the first national lockdown earlier this year, university campuses will remain open throughout England’s second COVID-19 lockdown starting Nov. 5, 2020 until Dec. 2, 2020.

“My priority, our priority, remains keeping people in education — so childcare, early years settings, schools, colleges and universities will all remain open. Our senior clinicians still advise that school is the best place for children to be,” Johnson said.

The move follows the UK recording one million confirmed coronavirus cases on Oct. 31, 2020 and warning by scientists that the “worst case” scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded. The national action is to prevent the overrunning of the NHS, which would be “a medical and moral disaster beyond the raw loss of life.”

England's second COVID-19 lockdown

A television shows Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking from 10 Downing Street in London, as customers sit at the bar inside the William Gladstone pub in Liverpool, northwest England on Oct. 12, 2020, following the announcement of new local lockdown measures to be imposed to help stem a second wave of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Source: Paul Ellis/AFP

The UK recorded 1,011,660 confirmed cases between Jan. 31, 2020 and Oct. 31, 2020. Over 20,000 new COVID-19 cases are reported in a day, with the country holding the biggest official death toll in Europe thus far. “Now is the time to take action because there is no alternative,” Johnson said at Downing Street.

Here’s what international students should know about the new lockdown:

What will stay open

Universities, schools and essential shops will remain open, according to Johnson. Non-essential retail will close. Pubs and restaurants can only offer takeaway. Workplaces, like the construction and manufacturing sectors where people can’t work from home, can stay open.

What will close

Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues are ordered to close. Click and collect services, however, can continue.

When you can leave home

Education, work, medical needs, caring for the vulnerable, exercise, shopping for essentials and medicines — these are the only specific reasons people will be allowed to leave home. “From Thursday until the start of December, you must stay at home,” said Johnson

Online classes encouraged

Universities have been urged to “consider moving to increased levels of online learning where possible,” according to government guidance published after Johnson’s speech.

England's second COVID-19 lockdown

Students maintain social distancing in a large marquee erected by the university to create an additional socially distanced rest area to help mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, at the University of Bolton, in Bolton, northern England on Oct. 7, 2020. Source: Oli Scarff/AFP

Students barred from leaving campus

“If you live at university, you must not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time. You should only return home at the end of term for Christmas. We will publish further guidance on the end of term,” says the government guidance.

England’s second COVID-19 lockdown is not passed by Parliament yet

The measures announced have yet to come into force. They will be set out to Parliament on Nov. 2, 2020, debated on Nov. 3, 2020 and if passed, will come to force on Nov. 4, 2020.

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