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Boris issues warning to nation not to ‘blow it’ after lockdown

Boris Johnson has warned there will be ‘disastrous consequences’ for the NHS without the three-tiered system of restrictions when the lockdown ends next week.

The Prime Minister urged the nation to ‘work together’ with tiering, testing and vaccines, as he stressed it was too early to relax restrictions.

But the PM, who faces a showdown with his own MPs over the stringent measures, said he believed Easter would mark a ‘real chance to return to something like life as normal’.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, he said: ‘We can’t blow it now. We can’t just throw it all away – not when freedom is in sight. We have worked too hard, lost too many, sacrificed too much, just to see our efforts incinerated in another volcanic eruption of the virus…

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‘We are so nearly out of our captivity. We can see the sunlit upland pastures ahead. But if we try to jump the fence now, we will simply tangle ourselves in the last barbed wire, with disastrous consequences for the NHS.

‘So let’s do the job properly. Let’s work together, and with tiering, testing and vaccines let’s make 2021 the year we kick Covid out, take back control of our lives and reclaim all the things we love.’

The Prime Minister likened the development of effective vaccines to the ‘morale-boosting bugle-blasting excitement of Wellington’s Prussian allies coming through the woods on the afternoon of Waterloo’.

And he said: ‘If and when we can begin delivering those shots in the national arm – beginning with the most vulnerable groups – we will know we have won.’

He also said that at the first review of the measures on December 16 he would move areas down a tier where there is ‘robust evidence’ that coronavirus is in sustained decline.

His comments came as he attempted to head off a rebellion by offering Parliament another chance to vote on the restrictions early next year, saying the legislation will have a ‘sunset of February 3’.

Mr Johnson said the Government will review local areas’ tiers every fortnight and bring the regulations before Parliament after the fourth review on January 27 which will determine whether the tier system stays in place until the end of March.

He also said the first such review, on December 16, would consider the views of local directors of public health, with a final decision on whether any areas should change tiers made at a Cabinet committee. The changes would come into effect on December 19.

Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall, and the Isles of Scilly will be under the lightest Tier 1 controls, while large swathes of the Midlands, North East and North West are in the most restrictive Tier 3.

In total, 99% of England will enter Tier 2 or 3, with tight restrictions on bars and restaurants and a ban on households mixing indoors when the four-week national lockdown lifts on Wednesday.

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