Boris Johnson has claimed there are "better days before us" as he promised that England’s lockdown will end on December 2.
The Prime Minister told a cabinet meeting today that there is "light ahead" despite admitting that coronavirus deaths would run "in the thousands".
Johnson told his colleagues that the four-week circuit-breaker starting on Thursday was the last thing he wanted to do, The Sun reports.
It comes as the death toll rose again on Tuesday by 397, with 20,018 more positive cases being reported.
As fears grew that the lockdown would be extended past December 2 the Prime Minister sought to quash speculation.
He said: "These measures – the crucial thing to understand is that they expire on December 2nd. They come to an end.
"We therefore as a government and indeed as a country have a deadline and a target to develop solutions which previously…did not exist."
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The Prime Minister has vowed to return England to the tier system currently in place once lockdown laws expire in December.
Huge swathes of the country face stringent restrictions under tier 3, but other parts could see laws loosened back to tier 1.
Johnson is also said to have promised "light ahead" despite the gloom of November.
The total number of positive infections in the UK now stands at 1,073,882 with a bleak death toll of 47,250 since the outbreak began.
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From Thursday all non-essential businesses will be forced to close and households ordered not to mix indoors or out.
The government has also banned all-but-essential travel, with exceptions for business allowed.
People must stay at home unless they have to work, buy essential goods or go to school or University.
Exercise is allowed with one other person from another household if it is outdoors and socially distanced.
If lockdown was extended, the PM would likely face a mass revolt from Tory backbenchers, who lined up to grill him over the lockdown yesterday.
It is expected that some Tory MPs will vote against the new rules but numbers will not be large enough to cause Boris any headaches at this stage.
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