BORIS Johnson has told the nation they must "stay at home" for four weeks from Thursday in a fresh lockdown to "protect the NHS and save lives".
The PM revealed tonight at a press conference that nearly everything will shut again for a MONTH in a huge U-turn – just four months after the end of the first UK-wide shutdown.
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He brought back the slogan from the original March lockdown as he told the nation they must once again stay home to stop the NHS from being overwhelmed.
Professor Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance showed the nation a set of grim slides tonight – warning that the death numbers could pass the first peak as early as the start of December.
And they said the number of deaths in the second wave could be DOUBLE that of the first.
Mr Johnson insisted he was right to try a local approach to try and get the rates of infection down, but admitted it was not enough and he "could not ignore" the reality.
The PM admitted: "I'm afraid from Thursday, the basic message isn't the same. Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives."
He said that Christmas would be "different this year" but he was hopeful that families would still be able to meet up thanks to the "tough action" he was taking.
Mr Whitty added: "We would have a much better chance of doing it with these measures than if we were not implementing these measures today."
He announced tonight:
- People will have to stay at home for four weeks from Thursday – if MPs vote in favour
- They will only be able to leave home for school, work, medical reasons, exercise, shopping or providing care to the vulnerable
- The furlough scheme will be extended with 80 per cent of pay
- Pubs and restaurants will shut but will be allowed to do takeaways and deliveries
- Nurseries and schools are to remain open – but unions are already demanding they be shut
- International travel will be banned – except for work
- No overnight stays and internal UK-wide travel is set to be discouraged
- All non-essential retail will close, but supermarkets will be able to sell any and all goods they like
- There will be a nationwide ban on people mixing indoors – except for childcare
- People will be allowed to exercise as much as they like
- Manufacturing and construction will be encouraged to keep going – and Parliament and courts will stay open
He told the nation this evening: "We have got to be humble in the face of nature.
"In this country, as in much of Europe, the virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst case scenario.
"Unless we act we could see deaths running at several thousand a day, a peak of mortality bigger than the one at April."
He said it was now clear that hospitals in the South West will run out of capacity in just a few weeks "unless we act" and the nation would face a "medical and moral disaster".
Doctors would be forced to choose whose lives to save, and deprive millions of people across the nation the care they need.
However, he will face a huge Tory rebellion from his backbenchers – who are determined to fight another national shutdown.
It came as Britain officially passed one million cases of the virus today.
21,915 more people tested positive and 326 people died of the virus.
The lockdown is set to last until December 2 in an attempt to save the nation's Christmas.
But it will apply to England only – Scotland and Wales have said they will assess the situation and apply their own rules.
But he hoped that a ramping up of testing would tackle the virus in the longer term.
Boris said:“I am optimistic that this will feel very different by the spring.
“Its not that we have better medicines and therapies and a realistic idea of a vaccine by next year, but we can use rapid tests…
“You can get the result within 10-15 minutes. We can use these tests not just to find infectious people, but to drive down the disease.
"In the next few weeks, we plan a steady but massive expansion of development of these turnaround tests."
The Tier strategy won't be completely scrapped, and will return after the lockdown.
Boris is expected to reveal which areas will go back into which tiers after the lockdown is over.
REBELS WITH A CAUSE
Already Tory MPs were grumbling about the prospect of another national lockdown – and were hinting they may rebel if they aren't persuaded it is necessary.
David Davis MP told Times Radio: "I want Parliament to make this decision and [MPs] to be properly briefed… this is a bigger decision than going to war from the point of view of many people in the country…
"We need to really be very clear about what our exit strategy is."
He said his vote was not guaranteed – and many of his colleagues were sceptical too.
They will have to vote on the national measures this week before they can come into force.
He wrote in a message to them tonight: "I assure you we are doing what we believe is best for the country and to ensure that the NHS is not overwhelmed in a way that could cost many thousands of lives.
"There is a clear way out of this, with better medication and rapid testing – and the genuine prospect of a vaccine. Our country will recover well. But I am afraid there are no easy short term options. Best Boris."
And he apologised they had to find out from newspapers – rather than an announcement from him on Monday as he'd planned.
The announcement comes after ministers were briefed by scientific advisers this afternoon in an emergency crunch meeting, following leaked reports of the second lockdown looming.
The PM will be joined by chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance for the press conference.
Experts presented Downing Street with “grim” data on the second wave, despite the R-rate falling.
It was reported that Britain faces a "massive spike" in Covid deaths on Christmas Eve if no action is taken, scientists warned.
Brits reacted by hitting the shops and panic buying loo roll and milk, while also making plans to flee out of cities to the countryside.
The news was met with dismay from those in the hospitality industry – fearing another lockdown's effect on their businesses.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said a national lockdown would be "absolutely devastating" for the industry and called for the sector to receive "significant additional help in order to get through this".
Large swathes of the country have already been living under tough Tier 3 restrictions, unable to mix households at all, and those in Tier 2 were only allowed to meet outside.
More restrictions had begun to spread across the country over the past few weeks – with areas slowly being moved into stricter tiers as the PM resisted a national lockdown.
The entirety of England had already been under a 10pm hospitality curfew and forced to abide by the Rule of Six for weeks.
But this week Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer, is said to have warned: “We’ve got to hit this hard and fast.”
Which businesses are set to close?
ALL non-essential retail shops and some other businesses are set to close from next week.
The government is yet to share which businesses it applies to, but below's a list of what's expected so far.
- Non-essential shops, including electronics and clothing stores
- Leisure centres, such as bowling alleys and soft play centres
- Hairdressers and nail salons
No 10 was given a chilling report claiming deaths from the virus could peak just before Christmas, with a "massive spike" on Christmas Eve.
And government medics warned some hospitals may not even have enough staff to cope with the extra patients on top of the normal winter strains on the NHS.
Professor Calum Semple, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC Breakfast that "the tiered approach to restrictions hasn't worked particularly well".
When asked what could be achieved with a reported four-week lockdown, Prof Semple said: "If that was applied nationally and was adhered to you would see a dramatic fall in hospital admissions and that's in four weeks' time."
He suggested there should be a review at four weeks and there could be a "bit of easing around the festive activities" but that a lockdown would give officials "time to get test, trace and isolate processes really up to scratch".
Experts warned a circuit breaker style two-week lockdown would now not be long enough to curb infections.
They told No 10 it is too late for that option now, with a month-long national lockdown the only way to bring down cases
France and Germany announced national lockdown restrictions earlier this week, while in Northern Ireland pubs and restaurants were closed for four weeks starting on October 16 with the exception of takeaways and deliveries.
Wales is currently under a "firebreak" lockdown, with leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses closed, and in Scotland the majority of people will be under Level 3 of a new five-tier system from Monday.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab had yesterday refused to rule out a national lockdown like those in France and Germany.
He said: “We’re always ready for further measures that we can take.”
Sage says deaths are highly likely” to exceed the “reasonable worst case scenario” drawn up to help the Government with its planning.
It assumed there would be more than 500 Covid deaths a day for 90 days, with a peak of 800 a day in February and 85,000 in total in the second wave.
Politicians and scientists want to bring infection rates down far enough so loved ones can gather safely for Christmas.
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