Boris Johnson to give first press conference of new lockdown at 5pm

5 January 2021, 12:10

During the initial March lockdown, Downing Street gave daily press briefings to give updates on coronavirus measures
During the initial March lockdown, Downing Street gave daily press briefings to give updates on coronavirus measures. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

Boris Johnson will deliver a news conference at 5pm today on the first day of England's third national coronavirus lockdown.

Mr Johnson will hold a No 10 press conference alongside the chief medical officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, and the Government's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, Downing Street has said.

During the initial March lockdown, Downing Street gave daily press briefings to give updates on coronavirus measures.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a fresh £4.6 billion support package for businesses across the UK dealt a further crippling blow by enforced closures.

It includes one-off top-up grants worth up to £9,000 for firms in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors to help nurse them through to the spring.

READ MORE: National lockdown for England amid soaring Covid cases

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon imposed a lockdown on Scotland for the rest of January, with a legal requirement to stay at home and schools closed to most pupils until February.

Schools and colleges in Wales will also remain closed until at least January 18 and move to online learning, while in Northern Ireland - which is already under a six-week lockdown - "stay at home" restrictions will be brought back into law and a period of remote learning for schoolchildren will be extended.

The Stormont Executive is meeting on Tuesday to confirm details of the plan, which could run beyond January.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said the country was in for a "very difficult" few weeks and could give no firm date for lifting the lockdown.

READ MORE: UK records 58,784 new Covid cases - highest daily total ever

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he will back the new national lockdown in England.

When asked if the new restrictions were what he had in mind when he called for another lockdown, Sir Keir said: "Yes, it is what we had in mind and we will back it.

"It was inevitable we needed a national set of restrictions. That's why I called for it."

He said that it was now a race against time to ramp up the national vaccination programme.

"We are in a race against time now. We have got a contract with the British people to say these are tough restrictions, in return for that the Government has got to roll out the vaccination programme at speed and accelerate that.

"This is a huge challenge and I think we need to pull together."