Prime Minister to make televised address announcing tougher Covid measures

Prime minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference in response to the ongoing situation with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Boris Johnson is expected to announce tougher lockdown restrictions at a press conference at 8pm this evening. - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson is set to announce tougher lockdown measures in a televised address later this evening as Covid-19 cases continue to soar. 

The Prime Minister is set to hold the briefing, which is expected to outline tougher restrictions across the UK, at 8pm today. 

A concerning national rise in both Covid-19 cases and deaths has forced the government to introduce the new measures, which are expected later today. 

Mr Johnson will address the nation, rather than make the announcement in a press conference, with measures expected to be similar to the previous lockdown in October. 

The BBC's Robert Peston has reported that tier 4 restrictions will be imposed everywhere, with schools closing and all team games in parks cancelled.

It is understood that outdoor exercise will still be allowed.

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

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"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."

Shoppers return to Stevenage town centre after lockdown 2.0.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Harsher lockdown restriction are expected to be announced by Boris Johnson in an address to the nation this evening. - Credit: Archant

Earlier today, during a visit to a vaccination centre in north London, Mr Johnson acknowledged there was "no question" the further measures would be necessary, as cases continue to surge across the country.

The latest data show a 41% rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus patients in hospitals in England between Christmas Day and January 3, figures which have caused alarm in Whitehall and the health service.

While ministers hailed the rollout of the new Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Mr Johnson warned the nation needed to prepare for some "tough" weeks ahead as the jab was extended to the most vulnerable.

In Suffolk, cases are continuing to rise across every district and concerns have been voiced by a number of senior health officials. 

It was reported over the Christmas period that the intensive care units at Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals were full

A number of primary schools have also elected not to open their doors to students today, in line with many in the hardest hit areas of the country, over concerns about the spread of the virus. 

The Prime Minister has also announced the emergency recall of Parliament. 

Responding to the announcement, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "I hope the Prime Minister has been listening to the clear calls for tough national restrictions."

He told the PA news agency new measures were needed to "get the virus under control, protect the NHS and create the space for the vaccine to be rolled out as quickly as humanly possible".