Boris Johnson to address nation on first day of new lockdown

Boris Johnson is to address the nation at a 5pm press conference on the first day of the new national lockdown.

He will appear alongside NHS England boss Simon Stevens to lay out a plan to ‘minimise Covid-19 spiralling out of control’

It comes after Mr Sevens said the country has ’22 hospitals worth’ of coronavirus patients after ‘a very substantial’ increase in admissions.

Speaking to the BBC’s Today Programme on Wednesday, he said the number of severely ill people the NHS is treating has rocketed from 2,000 at the beginning of October to just under 11,000.

Earlier, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the furlough scheme will be extended until March in a sign many areas may be living under tight restrictions for the next four months.

The new restrictions came in at midnight on Thursday and will last until December 2.

The PM has insisted that the lockdown will end on this date ‘without a shred of doubt’, despite some ministers hinting it will have to be extended.

But Sir Keir Starmer labelled this ‘madness’ if infection rates are still high and hospitals are still at risk of being overwhelmed.

From today, people are only allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons, such as food, exercise or to do a food shop.

Non-essential businesses must close and households are banned from mixing.

More to follow

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