A Press Conference will be arranged by BORIS Johnson at 5 p.m. In Downing St. with Sir Patrick Valance and Chris Whitty, British government experts.
The BBC said an audience of 15.6 million people were watching the prime minister’s televised speech on the latest coronavirus restrictions in England.
At 7 o’clock p.m. Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer will make a television statement tonight, the party said, referring to Johnson’s lockdown announcement.
This afternoon, Mr. Johnson will use his press conference to reflect on the reasons behind the latest lockdown measures.
The new coronavirus restrictions south of the border will have to stay in effect until March, Michael Gove suggested.
The prime minister urged the nation to “pull together” in his televised speech and said that the stringent new restrictions – including the closing of schools for most pupils – were an effort to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed by a rise in new infections.
At the same time, he held out the possibility that, beginning in mid-February, the vaccination initiative, which is being phased out across the U.K., will allow for a gradual easing of restrictions.
In this morning’s round of radio interviews, however, Gove said that the relaxing of the rules in England would have to wait until next month, and that some steps might still be in place even then.
“The Minister of the Cabinet Office stated, “We will keep a constant eye on these, but in the week of Feb. 15-22, we can not say with certainty that we will be able to lift the restrictions.
We will do all we can to make sure that as many citizens as possible are vaccinated, so that the regulations will begin to be phased out.
“It’s accurate to say that by March we should be able to lift some of these restrictions, but not necessarily all of them.”
The announcement by Johnson came after Nicola Sturgeon placed a lockout on Scotland for the rest of January, with a legal obligation for most students until February to stay home and close schools.
Schools and colleges in Wales will now remain closed until at least Jan. 18 and switch to online learning, while the “stay at home” ban will be restored in Northern Ireland – currently under a six-week lockout – and a distance learning period for schoolchildren will be extended.
To confirm specifics of the proposal, which may stretch beyond January, the Stormont executive meets today.
In his address Monday night, Johnson cautioned that the “toughest yet,” will be the coming weeks, but said that it should be possible to vaccinate 13 million of the most vulnerable people by mid-February with “good wind in the sails” paving the way for controls to relax.
In spite of pressure from teachers’ unions, the Prime Minister had previously resisted calls to postpone the reopening of the English elementary school, particularly after the Christmas holidays.
The U.K. said Mr. Gove “heavy heart”heavy heart.
“In those circumstances, we felt that the only thing we could do was to close the elementary school that were open,” he explained.
Sir Keir announced that his party will support the government, with MPs expected to discuss the new restrictions tomorrow.
The Labour leader, however, cautioned that it would not be easy to reach Johnson’s goal of vaccinating 13 million people by mid-February, including those over 70.
That’s the goal of the prime minister. I hope he doesn’t make too many promises. It’s going to be a war, and,”That’s the prime minister’s target. I hope he doesn’t make too many promises. It’s going to be a struggle and we have to get this done,”we have to get this done.
In the meantime, some doctors and scientists have expressed concern that recent steps are still not adequate to avoid NHS overcrowding.
On BBC Radio 4’s “Today” show, Dr. Claudia Paoloni, chair of the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Group, said, “We’re now in a situation where the risk of the NHS being overwhelmed in the next few weeks is very, very high.”
Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of the SAGE Expert Group of the UK Government, said it was important to learn the lessons learned from the first wave of the pandemic.
Tens of thousands of lives will clearly be saved by the lockout declared yesterday. The threat