Matt Hancock press conference LIVE: More areas expected to go into Tier 4

23 December 2020, 14:48 | Updated: 23 December 2020, 16:07

By Kate Buck

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is set to hold a press conference about the latest coronavirus restrictions, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to be put into Tier 4 immediately after Christmas.

Genomic researchers have found a new variant spreading through the country, which is said to be 70% more infectious than previous strains, with cases identified in Wales and Scotland.

Health chiefs in Cumbria have said the new variant is in the county and could be behind sharp increases in new cases, while Lancashire's director of public health said there was a "high likelihood" the new variant was in the county.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has written to the Prime Minister to say his party would back any Government moves to tighten restrictions if that is what scientists recommended.

Sinn Fein has said an island-wide travel shutout should be introduced in Ireland to stem the spread of the new variant there.