With Boris Johnson saying there’s “no question” tougher measures will be needed to contain the rapid spread of coronavirus, it is unsurprising that many are now wondering when he will make a decision.
Alarming new data shows a 33% rise in the number of hospitalised Covid patients in England between Christmas Day and January 2, while a terrifying graph shows the curve for the UK’s infection rate is close to vertical.
The PM has also hinted secondary schools may remain closed beyond January 18, while more primary schools could also be allowed to remain shut.
Here’s the latest information on when the PM could speak to the nation and when Brits can expect lockdown changes.
Will Boris Johnson speak?
The Prime Minister has warned that “tough, tough” measures will be needed, but instead of saying when the change would come, he told reporters there would be an announcement “in due course”.
During a visit to north London’s Chase Farm Hospital on Monday, he said: “If you look at the numbers there’s no question we will have to take tougher measures and we will be announcing those in due course.”
Currently no Downing Street press conference is scheduled for Monday.
The next fortnightly tier review is due on Wednesday January 13, the same day as the first Prime Minister’s Questions of 2021.
However, there is speculation that more Tier 3 to Tier 4 changes will be announced before the next official review date.
Pressure on the Prime Minister
MPs from both sides of the Commons have called on Mr Johnson to move quickly.
Speaking after the PM told told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that measures could be needed within weeks, Sir Keir responded: “And there’s no good the Prime Minister hinting that further restrictions are coming into place in a week, or two or three.
“That delay has been the source of so many problems.
“So, I say bring in those restrictions now, national restrictions, within the next 24 hours.”
Similar calls were made on Monday by former Tory Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, said “we need to close schools, borders, and ban all household mixing RIGHT AWAY”.
In a Twitter thread, the chairman of the Health and Social Select Committee said: “To those arguing winter is always like this in the NHS: you are wrong. I faced four serious winter crises as Health Sec and the situation now is off-the-scale worse than any of those.”
He later added: “No 1 lesson is countries that act early & decisively save lives & get their economies back to normal faster. Wuhan is now free of any restrictions – but Uni of Southampton show if they’d locked down 1 week earlier they would’ve reduced infections by 2/3.
“We therefore cannot afford to wait: all schools should be closed, international travel stopped, household mixing limited and the tier system reviewed so that the highest tier really does bring down infection levels (as with the first lockdown).”