The major changes to lockdown Boris Johnson is expected to make in speech tonight
The Prime Minister will make a speech outlining new lockdown restrictions to fight coronavirus today
With cases of coronavirus increasing daily, the Prime Minister will address the nation today, September 22, to announce new lockdown measures striving to prevent a catastrophic coronavirus second wave.
Yesterday, in a televised press conference, the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said that cases of coronavirus were doubling “roughly every seven days”, leading to 50,000 cases a day by mid-October.
The Government’s Department of Health and Social Care has now moved the coronavirus alert level from Level 3 to Level 4 in response to the data.
A joint statement from the UK’s chief medical officers said: “After a period of lower COVID cases and deaths, the number of cases are now rising rapidly and probably exponentially in significant parts of all four nations.
"If we are to avoid significant excess deaths and exceptional pressure in the NHS and other health services over the autumn and winter, everyone has to follow the social distancing guidance, wear face coverings correctly and wash their hands regularly.
“We know this will be a concerning news for many people. Please follow the rules, look after each other and together we will get through this.”
When is the Prime Minister speaking?
Boris Johnson will will chair a meeting with the Cobra emergency committee and the Cabinet before making a speech to parliament at 12.30pm.
The Prime Minister is then expected to address the nation in a live TV broadcast at 8pm.
What is he expected to say?
Pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be ordered to close by 10pm each night from Thursday. On top of this, the announcement is expected to restrict the hospitality sector to table service only, expanding on the ‘rule of six’ and compulsory track and trace records implemented last week. Boris Johnson will also stress the need to follow social-distancing guidance, wear face coverings and wash their hands regularly. It is also anticipated that he will ask people to return to working from home, wherever possible.
Although the new measures aim to reduce the spread of the virus, they are expected to impact heavily on the hospitality sector, with more fines coming in for establishments that do not follow the guidelines.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UKHospitality, said: “It is hard to understand how these measures are the solution to fighting the disease when Government data shows that just 5 per cent of infections out of the home are related to hospitality.”
Pubs and restaurants have already responded to news about the curfew, with Public, a bar in Sheffield, already debating whether to open early to reduce the impact this will have on their business.
A Number 10 spokesperson said: “No-one underestimates the challenges the new measures will pose to many individuals and businesses.
“We know this won’t be easy, but we must take further action to control the resurgence in cases of the virus and protect the NHS.”
With restrictions already imposed locally in some areas, such as the north east, it is unknown what further measures could be taken in Yorkshire or Derbyshire should cases continue to increase following today’s announcement.
The speech will be shown on BBC One, the BBC News Channel and Sky News at 8pm.