The prime minister has taken to the podium to announce tighter pandemic restrictions for many parts of England over Christmas – especially in London and the south East.
He has described the tighter restrictions as ‘tier four’. These restrictions will take effect from tomorrow morning and Johnson reiterates that there’s no evidence that the new coronavirus strain causes more severe illness or higher mortality.
He also confirmed that “everyone, in all tiers” must stay local. This means everybody in England.
“We cannot continue with Christmas as planned,” he says.
Across the rest of the country, rules allowing up to three households to meet will now be limited to Christmas Day only.
The prime minister was was joined by the familiar cast of England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and the UK’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance for a national press conference this evening.
The cabinet today met to discuss action to curb the rise in infections amid concerns over a new variant of coronavirus in the UK.
England’s current three-tier system of coronavirus measures has faced strong criticism recently for not being effective in stopping the surge in cases – which as prompted thousands to calls for a full lockdown to get back ahead of the curve.
The UK has reported another 27,052 confirmed Covid-19 cases. That’s down slightly on Friday’s figure of 28,507.
There have also been another 534 deaths within 28 days of a positive test. That’s up from 489 a day before.