England To Enter New National Lockdown Due To Alarming Covid Numbers, Film & TV Production Allowed To Continue — Update

Andreas Wiseman

UPDATE 14:25 PM EST: The UK government has confirmed that film and TV production will be able to continue during the upcoming national lockdown.

EARLIER STORY 12:05 PM EST: England is to enter a new lockdown akin to March 2020 due to alarmingly high Covid-19 numbers, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this evening in a nationally televised address.

The new lockdown, which will become legally enforceable on Wednesday morning, will see mass school closures (with many 2021 exams cancelled) until at least mid-February and tight lockdown restrictions across England. The measures include people only being allowed to leave home to perform certain jobs, to do food shopping and to do exercise in a local park. Nurseries will remain open and elite sport will continue.

Scotland had already announced a legally enforceable lockdown from midnight tonight with all schools to be closed throughout January. Schools in Wales will be closed until at least mid-January. Northern Ireland was placed into six-week lockdown on 26 December, which saw all but essential shops forced to close, and executives are discussing additional measures.

Medical experts have warned that without tough new measures the UK’s National Health Service could be overwhelmed in coming weeks.

The news comes amid soaring infection rates and hospital admissions, many linked to a new, more easily transmissible variant of the virus.

There have been a further 58,784 coronavirus cases confirmed across the UK in the past 24 hours — the sixth day in a row that cases have surpassed 50,000 — with 407 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, taking the total by that measure to 75,431.

The UK is currently rolling out two different Covid vaccines but concerns are growing that the virus could disrupt society throughout 2021.

Most cinemas across the UK are currently closed due to the pandemic but industry leaders we spoke to this evening have expressed confidence that according to the guidelines film and TV production will be able able to continue with pre-existing coronavirus safety measures in place.

John McVay, head of producers union PACT, told us his understanding of the new measures are that film and TV production will be able to continue. We have also reached out to DCMS and the BFI for confirmation.

In March, all productions had to shut down but were allowed to continue in later forms of lockdown once safety measures were introduced.

The UK is currently hosting multiple major Hollywood film and TV productions as well as numerous local dramas and features.

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