What does lockdown look like elsewhere?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVI

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19). - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

As pressure grows for a more draconian lockdown in England, and Boris Johnson is set to make a televised address tonight, here's how restrictions currently look across the UK - and in other countries around the world.

The UK government is responsible only for restrictions in England, as health is a devolved matter, with the parliaments in Edinburgh and Cardiff, and the assembly in Northern Ireland, deciding on their own policies.

While restrictions are broadly similar across the four nations, there are some differences.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reacts as she delivers a statement at Holyrood, Edinburgh, announcing

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reacts as she delivers a statement at Holyrood, Edinburgh, announcing that Scotland will be placed in lockdown from midnight for the duration of January with a legal requirement to stay at home except for essential purposes. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

On Monday (January 4), First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the Scotland would go into full lockdown from midnight, with new laws requiring people to stay at home and schools closed to most students until at least February 1.

Other differences among the nations mostly apply to meeting people outdoors and social distancing limits.

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In England and Northern Ireland, people are advised to stay at least one metre from each other, while in Scotland and Wales it is two metres.


On October 12, the UK government introduced the three-tier system, and on December 19 added Tier 4, which Norfolk and Suffolk have been in since Boxing Day.

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Life in the highest tier limits people to meeting or exercising outdoors with one person from outside their household.

Meetings indoors with other households are not permitted.

Weddings should not take place except in exceptional circumstances, with a max of six people, while funerals are allowed with maximum of 30 attendees.

Primary schools were advised to return to normal in January - although almost 130 remained closed in Norfolk on Monday - while secondary schools are staggering the return of pupils, with all expected to be back in classrooms by next Monday (January 11).


As mentioned above, people in Scotland have been ordered to stay at home for the duration of January, in a bid to curb the spread of the new strain of coronavirus.

The fresh measures replace a five-level system, in operation since November 2, which saw each local council subject to different restrictions based on infection rate.

Since Boxing Day, all of mainland Scotland and the Isle of Skye had been in Level 4, the highest tier.

Schools were due to be fully reopened by January 18 - but the new lockdown has pushed that back until the beginning of February.

Outdoor gatherings have been cut from a maximum of six people from two households to meeting only one person from one other household.

A travel ban is still in place between Scotland and the rest of the UK, except for essential journeys.


 New lockdown measures were imposed on Christmas Eve.

Non-essential shops, gyms and leisure centres, closed at the end of trading that day, while pubs and restaurants closed at 6pm on Christmas Day.

First Minister Mark Drakeford speaking at a press conference in Cardiff ahead of Wales entering a tw

First Minister Mark Drakeford speaking at a press conference about coronavirus in Cardiff, Wales. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Three days later, the entire nation was put into the new level 4 restrictions.

Outdoor gatherings are limited to people from the same household or support bubble.

The maximum number of attendees at weddings depends on ability to socially distance, while only closest family and friends are advised to attend funerals.

Most pupils are expected to return to school by January 11, with everyone due back on January 18.

Northern Ireland

Following an increase in coronavirus cases, additional restrictions were introduced for people in Northern Ireland on December 26.

Handout photo of First Minister Arlene Foster at a press conference at Parliament Buildings, Stormon

First Minister Arlene Foster at a press conference at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, to discuss the latest coronavirus situation. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A curfew was in place from that day to Jan 2, when shops had to close and no indoor or outdoor gatherings were allowed between 8pm and 6am every day.

Up to six people from no more than two households can meet up outdoors in a private garden, while outdoor gatherings in public parks and play areas have been limited to no more than 15 people.

The restrictions will remain in place for six weeks, with a review after four weeks.

The government in the Republic of Ireland has imposed a temporary ban on travel to Great Britain but has said it will not introduce controls on the border with Northern Ireland.

Primary school pupils are being taught remotely until January 11, while Years 8 to 11 will be learning online for the whole month and Years 12 to 14 will be back in the classroom next week.

Both weddings and funerals are limited to 25 people.

Around the world

In Wuhan, the city in China where the virus was first reported in December 2019, life appears to be returning to normal, with no locally transmitted cases reported for several months.

Aerial view of Wuhan, China

Aerial view of Wuhan, China - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

In January last year, the city was placed under strict lockdown for 76 days, with all public transport suspended and roads blocked.

Within weeks, authorities had tested nine million people.

Those with symptoms were taken to hospitals and allowed to leave only after twice testing negative for Covid, and then going into quarantine for another two weeks.

In Germany, a national lockdown that has seen schools close began on December 16, and is to last until January 10.

France has imposed a nationwide curfew between 8pm and 6am until January 20. Schools are open but universities will not return until February.

People in Greece, where a lockdown is due to end on January 7, have to send a text to a government number to get permission to leave their homes. All schools are closed.

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