The new year promised to be a fresh start for the whole UK; the end of the pandemic seemed just over the horizon with the vaccine rollout accelerating. But this was not the end of COVID-19.

In December, a new variant of the coronavirus was found in southeast England. More areas were put into Tier 4 as the month progressed, but this was not enough to stop the rapid spread of this up to 70% more transmissible strain. As Christmas approached, the government U-turned on its proposed easing of the rules, originally allowing 3 households to meet indoors from the 23rd to 27th. This was abruptly changed to just on Christmas Day for some of the country, and no indoor mixing for Tier 4 areas.

However, the spread continued to accelerate with ever more cases as the New Year approached, likely due to the easing that still took place at Christmas. Therefore, the government had to act. 

On 4th January, the Prime Minister announced a 3rd Lockdown, similar to the one seen in March, with schools closed and the stay at home message reintroduced nationwide. In London, the streets are deserted with us being only allowed out for essential reasons, such as exercise and buying necessities. But while we stay at home, doctors and nurses of the NHS are working hard to help those who need it the most.  In London, the NHS is under the most strain since the start of the pandemic, with 35% more coronavirus patients than April 2020. 

So as we stay at home for these next few weeks, we must remember that normality will return to London soon.