ENGLAND will be going back into a lockdown until the middle of February to combat the rise in Covid-19 , the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced.

In a statement made on television on Monday night, Mr Johnson explained that tougher restrictions were needed after a huge rise in cases across the United Kingdom.

The prime minister said that people will be expected to stay at home with all school pupils switching to remote learning – mirroring much of the first lockdown in April 2020.

And he added that the government is now looking into how pupils will be assessed next summer, confirming that exams will not go ahead.

Mr Johnson also state that vulnerable people will be expected to shield again, while people will only be allowed to leave their houses once a day for exercise.

He said: "Hospitals are under more pressure form Covid than any other time.

"In England alone, there has been a rise of nearly a third to 27,000 cases – 40 per cent more than the first peak.

"On December 29, more than 80,000 tested positive across the UK and the number of deaths will sadly rise.

"With most of the country under extreme measures, it's clear we need to be more together

"Once again we are telling you to stay at home.

"You will only be permitted to go out to shop for essentials, and if you cannot absolutely work from home.

"To exercise, seek medical assistance such as getting a Covid test, or toe scape domestic abuse.

"If you are clinically and extremely vulnerable, we are asking you to shield again, and you will be receiving a letter about what this means."

Mr Johnson added that the u-turn on schools – after he defended pupils returning on Sunday – was based on a desire to keep them open until medical officers 'advised otherwise'.

He added: "Because we now have to do everything we possible can to stop the spread of the disease, primary and secondary schools, and colleges across the country must move to remote provision from Tuesday, except vulnerable children and children of key workers.

"Everyone will still be able to access early years. We recognise that this means is it not possible or fair for exams to go ahead this summer as normal.

"[Gavin Williamson] will work with Ofqual to make alternative arrangements and we will be provided arrangements for pupils who receive a free school meal to continue to receive that.

"I completely understand the inconvenience and stress this will cause parents up and down the country.

"Children were in school today and people may ask why we didn't take this decision sooner. We've done everything we can to keep schools open as we know how important education is.

"It's not that schools are unsafe for children but they that may act as vectors causing the virus to spread across households."

However, Mr Johnson sounded a note of optimism, stating the need for a lockdown will be to support the roll out of the vaccination plans, and added that he felt they will be able to vaccinate all care home/carers, everyone over 70, health workers and the vulnerable.

The lockdown will start from midnight.