Boris Johnson has insisted the the UK can stop the rise of coronavirus cases in just four weeks – and that this lockdown will be different from the last one.
The PM’s pledge came as he appeared at a Downing Street press conference with NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens.
Boris Johnson has said the four-week coronavirus lockdown in England will be enough to have a “real impact” on the spread of the disease.
Me Johnson said that while many people were “anxious, weary and fed up” the measures were strictly time-limited.
“The advice I have received suggests that four weeks is enough for these measures to make a real impact,” he said.
“These rules will expire and on December 2 we plan to move back to a tiered approach. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
“These are difficult times. While it pains me to have to ask once again once again for so many to give up so much, I know we can get through this.”
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens told the Downing Street press conference: “This second wave of coronavirus is real and it’s serious.
“The health service has been working incredibly hard to prepare and to catch up on the care that was disrupted during the first wave.”
A graph shown by Sir Simon revealed the startling increase of people in hospital in the last few months.
He revealed that the number of patients was equivalent to 22 hospitals full of Covid patients.
Mr Johnson and Sir Simon’s press conference comes as the latest figures show the NHS Test and Trace system has reached the lowest ever proportion of contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in England.
Four in 10 close contacts of people who tested positive are still not being reached by the system, at the same time as it recorded its highest weekly number of positive cases.
It came as a further 236 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 33,873, NHS England said on Thursday.
Patients were aged between 27 and 99. All except 18, aged between 48 and 96, had known underlying health conditions.
The deaths were between October 23 and November 4.
Twelve other deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.
From midnight, pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops have closed their doors and members of the public have been told to stay at home for the next four weeks in a bid to reverse the spread of Covid-19.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said law enforcement will continue the approach of “policing by consent” to try to get the public to comply with the new lockdown.
An expansion of the number of Covid-19 marshals in local communities will also represent a “twin-track” approach to getting people to obey the regulations, he said.
Currently, there is a £200 fine for every breach, which doubles with every offence up to a maximum of £6,400, as well as £10,000 for large gatherings.
Covid-19 case rates in England are rising for all age groups aged 40 and over, according to the latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England.
Rates are falling among younger age groups, though the highest rate of any age group continues to be for 20 to 29-year-olds, which stood at 333.6 cases per 100,000 people in the week to November 1, down from 356.4.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed the jobs furlough scheme is to be extended until the end of March, meaning the Government will continue to help pay people’s wages up to 80% of the normal amount.
He had previously extended the furlough throughout November due to the second lockdown in England.