BORIS Johnson will hold a press conference at 5pm tonight as England’s third lockdown began today.
The PM will attempt to calm the nation today as they were once again told to stay at home – as he appears alongside Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance.
The PM is expected to discuss the new coronavirus rules again and emphasise why the nation has been told to stay at home – and how hospitals are on the brink of being overwhelmed within 21 days.
In a dramatic escalation in the fight against Covid, the PM ordered the closure of all schools and non-essential shops for at least the next seven weeks.
In England alone, some 27,000 people are in hospital with COVID, 40% more than during the first peak in April.
A huge 80,000 positive cases were reported on December 29 – prompting the PM to introduce sweeping national measures. The number is higher than the official figures coming out daily as a result of extra positive tests which sometimes take a few days to come back.
Boris may also give the nation an update on how the vaccine rollout is going, and how he plans to jab 13million vulnerable Brits by the middle of February.
Government scientists said this would prevent some 88 percent of
It will start with people in care homes, followed by all those over 80, then more NHS workers.
After that the over 75s will get the jab, and then those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and who have had to sheild.
Only after that batch of people are vaccinated will he consider lifting lockdown measures.
At the moment just over a million have been done.
The NHs needs to reach two million people a week to reach the PM’s goal, but only 300,000 are currently being given out at the moment.
The efforts will be ramped up with more vaccination centres coming online this week – and with the rollout of the Oxford jab to GPs it will be easier to do.
It came as:
- England entered another lockdown today – with schools shut and people told to stay at home
- Brits started panic buying yet again with shelves stripped bare
- International travellers are set to be told to have a negative coronavirus test to get into the UK as Britain toughens up its borders
- Experts said even this stricter lockdown might not be enough to curb the spread of the new strain
- Hospitals continued to get busier as the NHS was just weeks from being overwhelmed
It will legally kick in tonight at midnight, but people have been told to start staying home from today.
But the lockdown may be extended into March if the vaccine rollout is too slow, Michael Gove warned today.
The Cabinet minister insisted that the Oxford and Pfizer jabs were the key to the lockdown ending.
Mr Gove said today that the lockdown may have to continue if the deadline is not met.
Progress would be reviewed in the final week of lockdown – the 15th of February – but March was the point at which restrictions would likely be lifted, he said.
He told Sky News: “We can’t predict with certainty that we will be able to lift restrictions in the week commencing February 15-22.
“What we will be doing is everything that we can to make sure that as many people as possible are vaccinated, so that we can begin to progressively lift restrictions.
“I think it is right to say that as we enter March we should be able to lift some of these restrictions but not necessarily all.”
Restrictions won’t all be lifted at once, with them “progressively” loosened, he added.
STAY AT HOME
Last night the PM urged Brits to follow the third nationwide lockdown immediately, and once again put Brits under effective house arrest – resurrecting the ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives slogan’.
And it was the new variant – which is between 50 and 70 per cent more transmissible – which has forced him to act.
Mr Johnson said people will only be allowed out of their homes to buy essential food and medicine supplies, attend medical appointments, exercise, work if it is critical and cannot be done from home and to provide care for a vulnerable person.
He also told the nation:
- People can only meet up for outside exercise with one other person from another household
- All outdoor team sports are banned except for elite sportsmen and kids still at school
- Playgrounds will remain open but outdoor gyms, tennis courts and golf courses will be closed once again
- Schools are set to stay shut across the nation until at least February half-term
- Nurseries, childcare centres and special schools will remain open
- Students will not be able to return to university and will be told to study remotely from their current residency until at least the middle of next month.
- GCSEs, A-Levels and some other exams are set to be cancelled – with further announcements due to come
- Pubs, restaurants, bars and most venues were already ordered to shut in every part of England apart from the Isles of Scilly last week and will remain closed for at least another month
- In a further blow to the battered industry, the new nationwide curbs will ban takeaway pints being served amid fears over punters clustering outside pubs. Food and non-alcohol takeaways will continue to be permitted
- In a boost for lonely Brits, support bubbles will remain in place – allowing single households to mix indoors with one other household
Police will have legal powers to enforce the rules but fines will not be increased despite a drop in compliance.
Free school meals will continue to go to those who need them as schools stay shut, and more laptops will be dished out to kids across the nation who haven’t got the ability to learn online at home.
And holidays will effectively be cancelled as people have to legally remain at home.