Councillor Andrew Johnson, leader of the council, said: "The Government has announced today (4 January) that the Royal Borough, along with the rest of England, returns to full lockdown.
“With COVID-19 cases locally and nationally showing no signs of easing, let alone plateauing out, I don’t think any of us find this announcement surprising. The new variant of the virus is between 50 and 70% more transmissible. We’re already seeing our NHS under pressure, and sadly the death toll is rising once more. Our thoughts are with those of you who’ve already lost loved ones to this virus.
“Thanks to the fantastic efforts of British science, the Oxford vaccine is starting to be rolled out alongside the Pfizer vaccine, which are key weapons in our arsenal against the virus. The Royal Borough stands ready to support the delivery of the vaccine in any way we can. Nevertheless, it will take several months for our most vulnerable family members and friends to be safeguarded against this terrible virus.
“The pandemic is certainly not over, and now is the most dangerous moment - we cannot and must not allow our sacrifices so far to have been for nothing. Perhaps more than ever before, the behaviour of every single one of us will make the difference. By making these big sacrifices, we can give the NHS critical time and space to do what it does best, and to also deliver the vaccination programme.
“With the announcement that schools must close, rest assured we will continue to support them so that our children and young people can access high quality education albeit from home. Early years settings, however, remain open.
“We await further details from Government on whether there’ll be further support available to local businesses. The Royal Borough will continue to work to ensure the Government’s business support is available as swiftly as possible.
"If we all work together, we can beat this. Follow the data, stop the spread, and where safe and possible please continue to support our crucial local businesses.”
See the full details of the lockdown restrictions on the GOV.UK website. Remain vigilant both outside and indoors. If you develop symptoms, self-isolate at home and get tested. If you need support, we have a variety of resources to help you. See the COVID-19 page on our website for more details.