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Last orders: Boris puts 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants
21 September 2020, 22:28 | Updated: 21 September 2020, 22:34
Pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be forced to close by 10pm from Thursday, Boris Johnson will announce.
The curfew will form part of new national lockdown measures being announced by the Prime Minister on Tuesday evening to tackle the surging rates of coronavirus cases, Number 10 said.
The hospitality sector for food and drink will also be restricted by law to table service only.
Downing Street confirmed the strict curbs will be announced in the PM’s live televised address at 8pm tomorrow evening, but it is unclear yet whether there are any other measures yet to be announced.
Mr Johnson will convene the Cabinet early on Tuesday ahead of a Cobra emergency committee meeting, where ministers, devolved leaders and officials will discuss the spike in infections.
It came as the UK’s four chief medical officers recommended raising the Covid alert level from 3 to 4, the second highest, indicating the “epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially”.
“After a period of lower Covid cases and deaths, the number of cases are now rising rapidly and probably exponentially in significant parts of all four nations,” the chief medics said in a statement.
"If we are to avoid significant excess deaths and exceptional pressure in the NHS and other health services over the autumn and winter everyone has to follow the social distancing guidance, wear face coverings correctly and wash their hands regularly.”
The Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, warned the UK could see 50,000 new Covid-19 cases a day by mid-October and “200-plus deaths per day” by mid-November without further restrictions.
A further 4,368 cases and 11 deaths were reported on Monday.
Professor Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer, hinted that curbs to social lives were needed to prevent coronavirus spiralling out of control, saying there was a need to “break unnecessary links” between households and a need to “change course”.
He warned the UK has "turned a corner" in the wrong direction.
But during a Downing Street briefing, the two experts warned of the economic and social costs of further shutdowns - a warning sounded by pub chains and hospitality leaders, who said a nationwide curfew could be "devastating" and spark 900,000 job losses.
Meanwhile, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said fresh lockdown rules in London were imminent following an emergency meeting with cross-party councils.
He said he has drafted up a "new London plan to slow the spread of the virus and save Londoners lives".
"This includes some new restrictions," Mr Khan said in a statement on Monday evening. "We will collectively be asking the Government to implement this plan as soon as possible and I will be discussing it with the Prime Minister tomorrow morning.”
The Mayor told LBC the new package of measures did not include more limitations on households mixing with each other, but could include making face coverings mandatory in more areas.
Some 13.5 million people across the UK are already living in local lockdown. Four more counties in Wales became the latest to join the list, with residents in Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent and Newport banned from entering or leaving their areas without good reason, and indoor household mixing banned.
Read more: 'London may go it alone', says Sadiq Khan
Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, First Minister Arlene Foster announced that from 6pm on Tuesday households will be banned from meeting indoors bar certain exemptions.
A Number 10 spokesperson said: “No-one underestimates the challenges the new measures will pose to many individuals and businesses.
“We know this won’t be easy, but we must take further action to control the resurgence in cases of the virus and protect the NHS.”