Boris Johnson will hold a press conference on Thursday afternoon to update the public on the coronavirus pandemic, it has been confirmed.
The PM, who will be joined by NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens, will speak from Downing Street at 5 pm.
The press conference is expected to focus on the importance of protecting the health service through the second wave – and we are not expecting major announcements.
It comes as people in England woke up to a second national lockdown.
Pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops have once again been forced to close their doors and members of the public are ordered to stay at home for the next four weeks in a bid to reverse the spread of Covid-19.
Earlier the Prime Minister was been warned by a group of northern Conservative MPs that they do not want their constituencies “locked into lockdown” indefinitely.
Chairman of the Northern Research Group (NRG) of Tory backbenchers, Jake Berry, has called for more clarity from Boris Johnson for a roadmap out of the measures for a second time in little more than a week, as dissent appears to be growing within the Conservative Party.
On Wednesday evening, MPs voted by 516 to 38 – a Government majority of 478 – for the new restrictions, which are due to expire on December 2.
However, in a bigger-than-expected Commons rebellion, 32 Tory MPs defied the whips to vote against the measures, with two more acting as tellers for the noes.
The new restrictions were then cleared through Parliament after they were approved by the House of Lords.
The Bank of England is expected to slash its growth forecasts for the economy on Thursday and pump in another £100 billion of quantitative easing to boost the economy.
Yesterday NHS England signalled it would move into its highest alert level – level 4 – amid a continuing rise in coronavirus patients needing hospital care.
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said the service already had “22 hospitals’ worth” of Covid-19 patients and now faced a “serious situation ahead”.
During a press conference, he also said a potential vaccination programme will see vaccines delivered at GP surgeries, pharmacies and mass testing centres – including at the Nightingale hospitals.
GPs will be put on stand-by from December should a vaccine be made available before Christmas, he added.
People in Wales will be able to return to pubs and restaurants and schools are set to reopen when the nation’s two-and-a-half week “firebreak” ends next week.
A regional tiered approach to restrictions is in force across Scotland, while in Northern Ireland, pubs and restaurants are still shuttered after being closed for four weeks starting on October 16.