The measures announced on Monday have now become law, but
MPs will actually vote retrospectively to approve them later today. They’re expected to pass with ease – Labour has pledged its support, but said ministers must deliver a round-the-clock vaccination programme. The regulations allow restrictions to potentially be in place until mid-March. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all imposed lockdowns too, but will they be enough? An estimated one in 50 people in private households in England had coronavirus last week – one in 30 in London, while the number of daily confirmed cases topped 60,000 for the first time. Our health correspondent has more – as we’ve come to understand, the R number is everything. This graph shows how the R number could drop this time (in red), compared with how it fell during the first lockdown – the slower decline is down to the new, more transmissible variant.