A NEW nationwide lockdown for England is likely to be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at 8pm tonight (January 4), it is being widely reported.

But what can we expect the difference to be between Tier 4 and new tougher restrictions?

'Tough national lockdown' likely

The PM said earlier today there is "no question" tougher action is needed to curb the spread of the deadly bug.

It is expected his televised appearance at 8pm, with Parliament set to be recalled to sit on Wednesday, will bring a national 'stay at home' order.

ITV's Robert Peston has reported he expected the 8pm speech to be a direct address to the nation - such as the one used by Boris Johnson in March 2020, before the first nationwide shutdown.

Mr Peston also expects the PM to announce a "tough national lockdown" including school closures.

The Daily Mail had earlier reported the Government’s key “Covid-O” committee that oversees restrictions was expected to meet today to decide changes to the coronavirus rules.

Action after mounting pressure

This comes amid mounting pressure on the Government to impose severe restrictions immediately.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for a new national lockdown at the weekend, and today former Conservative health secretary Jeremy Hunt called for school closures, a travel ban and a lockdown "right away".

Clues from Scotland's lockdown?

If England is plunged into lockdown, this decision would follow hot on the heels of Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, announcing Scotland would go into lockdown from midnight tonight until at least the end of January.

This includes schools staying shut after Christmas.

For those of you who are wondering what you can do in Tier 4 and what a third nationwide lockdown could look like, based on what we already know about Scotland's rules, here's a reminder:

1 - Meeting family and friends

In Tier 4 - stay at home - people cannot socialise indoors with family or friends, unless they are part of your household or support bubble.

You can exercise or visit a public outdoor place with 1 person from another household if you are alone.

According to Scotland's lockdown rules, people must stay at home and only leave for an essential purpose, ie for caring responsibilities or essential shopping.

Outdoor gatherings will be cut back, with people only allowed to meet 1 person from one other household.

2 - Work and business

In Tier 4 everyone must work from home unless they are unable to do so.

The Scottish lockdown rules state everyone who can work from home will be required to, and people in the "shielding" category are advised not to go in to work at all.

If you are shielding and you cannot work from home, it is advised you do not work at all.

3 - Travelling

In Tier 4, people must stay at home and not leave their Tier 4 area.

Some exceptions are for work, education and to visit your support bubble.

In lockdown, if you live in a Level 4 area you cannot leave home unless it is essential. No one is allowed to travel into or out of Scotland unless it is for an essential purpose.

4 - Exercise

You can leave your home to exercise by yourself, with your household or support bubble, or with one other person from another household in Tier 4 areas.

In lockdown, the frequency of outdoor exercise is not being limited in Scotland, but the rule on outdoor gatherings changes from 6 people to a maximum of 2 people from two households.

ITV's Robert Peston reported outdoor team sports could be banned under the new rules in England, but general outdoor exercise still allowed.

Children under 11 do not count.

5 - Weddings, funerals and worship

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies shouldn't happen in Tier 4, except in exceptional circumstances.

Thirty people can attend funerals, but only 6 can attend a wake.

Places of worship are allowed to open, but people must not interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble.

In lockdown, communal worship cannot take place but 20 people can attend a funeral and 5 can attend a wedding.