Boris Johnson To Host Another Press Conference At 5pm Tonight
The prime minister is set to address the nation again tonight at 5.00pm following the announcement of a national lockdown yesterday, January 4.
All schools, primary and secondary, have been closed and moved to remote online education.
The national lockdown rules will be voted into law tomorrow morning, December 6, but people have been instructed to stay at home since last night.
It is unclear at this time what the press conference will entail.
Unless people cannot work from home, or are key workers, they have been instructed to stay indoors. They may still go outside once a day for exercise.
It is expected that the prime minister will discuss the latest coronavirus rules again and take questions regarding the effects on businesses and how the NHS is coping with the crisis.
Boris Johnson said he hopes the implementation of a national lockdown while the government rolls out a ramped-up vaccination programme will bring the crisis under control.
He said it is ‘realistic’ that everyone in the ‘top four priority groups’, such as the elderly and vulnerable, will receive the first dose of a vaccine by mid-February, a total of 13 million people.
The risk of the NHS being overwhelmed is a key concern. Yesterday, the UK’s chief medical officers agreed to raise the COVID-19 alert to level 5, which means there is a high risk of the NHS not being able to cope if the virus is not contained.
Yesterday, the UK recorded more than 50,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases for the seventh day in a row.
In his announcement, Johnson said schools will remain closed until February half-term and exams in the summer will not go ahead as usual. Schools will remain open for vulnerable students and those whose parents are key workers.
He also confirmed that students who are entitled to free school meals will continue to receive these provisions during lockdown.
The sharp increase in cases is due to a new variant of the virus, which Johnson said is 50-70% more transmissible.
‘Our collective efforts would have continued to work, but we now have a new variant of the virus. It’s been both frustrating and alarming to see the speed at which the variant is spreading,’ he said in his address yesterday.
Although the prime minister said tier restrictions will be reassessed after February half-term, Michael Gove suggested earlier today that lockdown restrictions will remain in place until March.
He told Sky News that the ‘progressive lifting’ of restrictions will largely rely on the number of vaccinations that are administered.
‘As we enter March, we should be able to lift some of the restrictions, but not necessarily all,’ he said.