Boris Johnson will update MPs and the nation on new coronavirus measures at 12.30pm, with a Downing Street broadcast at 8pm
Pubs, bars and restaurants across England will be forced to close at 10pm starting on Thursday, and the government have told people to work from home again if they are able.
In a House of Commons statement that will be followed by a TV statement addressing the nation, the Prime Minister will unveil a range of new measures in order to tackle the dramatic surge in cases of COVID-19.
This comes after the UK could soon be seeing 49,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day unless further action is taken in order to drive down the current rate of infection in the country, according to the government’s chief scientific adviser.
Speaking to Sky News ahead of the statement, Michael Gove said there would be a “shift in emphasis” and “if it is possible for people to work from home they should do so”.
“They are reluctant steps that we’re taking, but they’re absolutely necessary because as we were reminded yesterday and as you’ve been reporting, the rate of infection is increasing, the number of people going to hospital is increasing, therefore we need to act,” the Cabinet Office minister told Kay Burley.
The latest clampdown, which will include the whole of the hospitality sector being restricted by law to only offering table service, comes after the government’s medical chiefs have raised the nation’s coronavirus alert level.
The chief medical officers for each of the devolved nations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales raised the COVID-19 alert level from three to four, which means a high or increasing level of transmission that requires an enforced set of social distancing measures.
While the 10pm curfew being put in place for pubs and restaurants will worry those within the hospitality industry, there will be relief to some that the government is not proposing another total national shutdown, although that could happen in some of the country’s COVID-19 hotspots.
London’s mayor Sadiq Khan has said that he is proposing up to 15 new restrictions within the nation’s capital, including face masks being mandatory in more public areas, with restrictions on weddings and funerals, and with more people working from home when able.
“Without adequate testing or contact tracing in London, we have no choice but to look at other measures to slow the spread of the virus,” said the capital’s mayor.
“I firmly believe that acting early, rather than having to impose more stringent measures later, is the right thing to do both for public health and the economy.”
This comes after Boris Johnson will be chairing an emergency COBRA meeting today ahead of a statement from the Prime Minister on the next steps in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I know that many Londoners, like me, will be deeply frustrated at the likelihood of imminent new restrictions. Londoners have shown incredible resolve by steadfastly following the rules and doing the right thing – at great cost.
“However, taking firm action now to prevent a deeper and longer lockdown in the future is without a doubt the best thing to both save lives, and protect jobs and our economic recovery.”