Boris Johnson to address nation tonight about further English lockdown measures

Victoria Bell
·5-min read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at a press conference in 10 Downing Street, London, following the tightening of England's Covid-19 tiers.
Boris Johnson will address the nation on Monday to set out new emergency measures to control the spread of COVID-19 in England. (PA)

Boris Johnson will address the nation on Monday evening to set out new emergency measures to control the spread of coronavirus in England, Downing Street has said.

The prime minister will make a televised address at 8pm to address rises in COVID-19 case numbers.

Parliament is also set to be recalled to sit on Wednesday, Downing Street confirmed.

A No 10 spokesman said: “The spread of the new variant of COVID-19 has led to rapidly escalating case numbers across the country.

“The prime minister is clear that further steps must now be taken to arrest this rise and to protect the NHS and save lives.

“He will set those out this evening.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a thumbs up as he has his temperature taken during a visit to view the vaccination programme at Chase Farm Hospital in north London, part of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. The NHS is ramping up its vaccination programme with 530,000 doses of the newly approved Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine jab available for rollout across the UK.
'Tough times ahead': Boris Johnson during a visit to view the vaccination programme at Chase Farm Hospital in north London on Monday. (PA)

The move comes after Nicola Sturgeon announced that a nationwide lockdown will be introduced in Scotland from midnight on Monday.

Sturgeon said the new curbs are being introduced to contain the new, faster-spreading strain of the virus.

She said there will be a legal requirement for people to stay at home for the rest of January.

Schools in Scotland will remain closed to pupils until the start of February at the earliest.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reacts as she delivers a statement at Holyrood, Edinburgh, announcing that Scotland will be placed in lockdown from midnight for the duration of January with a legal requirement to stay at home except for essential purposes.
Nicola Sturgeon announced that a nationwide lockdown will be introduced in Scotland from midnight on Monday. (PA)

She told MSPs in Holyrood: “It is no exaggeration to say that I am more concerned about the situation we face now than I have been at any time since March last year.”

Johnson said earlier on Monday that tougher restrictions would be announced soon, as cases continue to surge across the country.

Speaking during a visit to Chase Farm Hospital in North London, where he met some of the first people to receive the new Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, he said there were “tough, tough” weeks to come and acknowledged there was “no question” that further measures would be necessary.

Watch: Matt Hancock ‘very worried’ about South African variant

The latest data shows a 41% rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus patients in hospital in England between Christmas Day and January 3, a figure that has caused alarm in Whitehall and the health service.

“If you look at the numbers there’s no question we will have to take tougher measures and we will be announcing those in due course,” Johnson said.

On Monday, the UK saw its highest ever daily case toll of 58,784, with 407 more people dying from the virus.

It was the seventh day in a row that more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases were reported, as hospital admissions continue to rise.

 A general view of a semi deserted Piccadilly Circus. Under tier four restrictions, pubs and restaurants will close, as well as �non-essential� retail. (Photo by Pietro Recchia / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Nearly 80% of England’s population are already under the toughest current restrictions. Here, an empty Piccadilly Circus in London. (PA)

With 78% of England’s population already under the toughest current restrictions, ministers have been examining how successful the Tier 4 measures – which came into force for the first time on December 20 – have been.

The announcement follows calls from teachers unions and ministers to close schools to stop the mutant COVID virus spreading.

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt called for immediate action to close schools, shut borders and ban household mixing, saying the situation was “off-the-scale worse” than previous winter crises faced by the NHS.

“In the face of exponential growth even waiting an extra day causes many avoidable deaths so these plans must now be urgently accelerated,” he said.

Senior Tory Neil O’Brien said procedures “need to toughen up at the border” in order to prevent cases being imported – a particular concern given the potential for new variants such as the one in South Africa.

On Monday, health secretary Matt Hancock refused to rule out the prospect of another national lockdown for England.

He told Sky News: “We don’t rule anything out, and we’ve shown repeatedly that we will look at the public health advice and we will take the public health advice in terms of what is needed to control the spread of the disease.

“This new variant is much easier to catch, it is much more transmissible, and we’re now seeing the effect of that in lots of different parts of the country, unfortunately.

“And it means that whereas the old Tier 3 was able to contain the old variant, that is proving increasingly difficult in all parts of the country.”

ITV political editor Robert Peston tweeted that schools will be closed and Tier 4 restrictions will be imposed all over the country.

He tweeted: “PM will be directly addressing the nation. It won’t be a press conference. Tier 4 restrictions will be imposed everywhere. Schools closed. No more team games in parks. But outdoor exercise will still be allowed.”

Watch: Boris Johnson to address the nation tonight to address further steps to combat variant