Boris Johnson update RECAP: Prime Minister says new Covid restrictions for England could last six months
Boris Johnson is set to address MPs and the whole nation on further coronavirus restrictions.
The Prime Minister is expected to announce new measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak as the UK’s alert level was raised from three to four.
You can follow the latest updates right here.
Boris Johnson update LIVE: Prime Minister gives lockdown restriction statement to Parliament
Last updated: Tuesday, 22 September, 2020, 13:39
- Prime Minister outlines measures to stop the spread of Covid-19
- English pubs, bars and restaurants must close at 10pm from Thursday
- Fine for not wearing a mask doubles to £200
- People in England should work from home if they can
Measures set out by Boris Johnson:
Measures set out by Mr Johnson to limit the spread of the virus included:
– Asking office workers who can to work from home, although construction workers, retail staff and people performing essential services should continue to attend their workplaces.
– From Thursday, pubs, bars and restaurants will be table service only and hospitality venues will be subject to a 10pm closing time.
– Face coverings will be required for retail staff, taxi passengers and hospitality customers except where seated.
– Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations for retail, leisure and tourism firms, with businesses facing the risk of fines or closure for failing to comply.
– From Monday, a maximum of 15 people will be allowed to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions.
– The rule of six will be extended to cover indoor team sports, such as five-a-side football games.
– Plans to allow business conferences and sporting events from October 1 have been shelved.
Minority to blame for Covid spread, says Johnson
Boris Johnson blamed the spread of Covid-19 on a “minority of people” who did not follow the rules.
The Prime Minister told MPs: “Testing alone cannot fix this problem. There’s a hiatus in the logic of the attacks that are sometimes mounted.
“The problem we have in the spread of this virus is that, alas, a minority of people have not been following the guidance in the way they might have done and what we’re trying to do now is get everybody to focus on those rules, on that guidance, to enforce it strictly and to get the R down.”
Conservative former health minister Steve Brine said national lockdown has “one shot” and any repeat and subsequent lockdown “reintroduces an increased element of opportunity for the virus and risk for us”.
He added: “All of these restrictions on our constituents’ lives require their ongoing consent, and it is incumbent on Government, the scientists who advise him and Parliament to stress test these decisions and crucially the evidence that lies behind them.”
Mr Johnson agreed with the suggestion.
Boris Johnson warns that someone’s ‘harmless cough’ can be another person’s death knell'
Boris Johnson warned that someone’s “harmless cough” can be another person’s “death knell”.
Tory Nick Fletcher (Don Valley) said “blanket restrictions are affecting all people of all ages, immaterial of the actual risk posed to them”.
He continued: “Could the Government therefore not ask individuals to carry out a personal Covid risk assessment. The results of which could determine whether someone needs to shield or can go about their daily lives?
“This will help boost the economy while protecting the vulnerable. After all, many people’s lives are being affected tremendously by these restrictions, especially the young, who as we all know – are only young once.”
Mr Johnson replied: “Well (Mr Fletcher) really puts his finger on the heart of the problem of the dilemma, because of course the tragedy of the coronavirus pandemic is that people who are not badly affected themselves can nonetheless pass it on unwittingly to older or more vulnerable people.
“So your harmless cough can be someone else’s death knell unfortunately, and that is why we have to apply the restrictions that we do.”
Johnson: Government will review measures if public does its bit
Boris Johnson said the Government will review the measures if the British public can “do what they did before” in getting the spread of coronavirus under control.
Conservative former minister Greg Clark asked: “What will be the criteria for lifting these restrictions, and others like the ‘rule of six’?”
Mr Johnson responded: “Of course we must look at what the data tells us and above all… there are several important data, but the R is perhaps the crucial one, but we also look at rates of admissions to hospitals and new infections.
“And if those facts change, if things turn around and if the British public can do what they did before and get this virus down and get it under control, then of course we will review the measures and review the situation.”
Blackford: ‘Nothing inevitable about the exponential spread of this virus'
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: “There is nothing inevitable about the exponential spread of this virus. If we act decisively, if we move sharply, if we take the tough decisions now we can get the virus back under control.”
On furlough, he added: “The Prime Minister and the Chancellor have rigidly refused to extend furlough, but we all know that U-turns and mixed messaging have come to define this Government.”
He added: “The Prime Minister has changed his advice this morning on working from home, it is now time to change his mind on furlough as well… Will this Government now save these jobs and extend the furlough scheme beyond October?
“Prime Minister do not throw workers on the scrap-heap through no fault of their own.”
Mr Johnson replied: “Out objective is to keep businesses going and to keep the economy moving as much as we can… We will continue to send that support throughout the whole of the UK, to put our arms around the whole of the workforce of the UK and to protect jobs and livelihoods, but what we also want to see is those businesses continuing and jobs being created.”
Johnson ‘proud' NHS Test and Trace is conducting more tests than any country in Europe
Boris Johnson said that the way to defeat the virus is to massively expand testing throughout the country.
Responding to a question from Conservative former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, the Prime Minister said: “The future I see for our country and the way to defeat this virus is massively to expand testing and not just for teachers, not just in schools, but throughout the country.
“And that is why I’m proud that NHS Test and Trace, despite all the difficulties that (Mr Hunt) and others have legitimately pointed out, NHS Test and Trace is now conducting more tests than any other country in Europe, and I think we should be proud of that.”
Johnson: MPs will debate new coronavirus measures next week
Boris Johnson announced that MPs will have the opportunity to debate the new coronavirus measures next week.
Tory Dame Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham) said: “But with this six-month time frame he’s announced, what does he say to grandparents who want to live their lives before its too late and cannot see their families, to worried parents and families who cannot access a test at the moment, to workers and business owners facing financial ruin and to MPs that want to debate these matters in Parliament before they are decided, not after so they can help him shoulder this onerous responsibility?
“How can he convince all of them that he’s taking the right path and unite our country with hope of an end to this misery?”
Mr Johnson replied: “I thank (Dame Cheryl) and she is entirely right that Parliament should and will debate these issues and Mr Speaker will make time next week, in Government time, for a very full debate on these measures.”
Johnson says UK testing more than any other European country
Boris Johnson repeated that the UK is “testing more than any other country in Europe”.
He added: “One test for every five people, and actually, in spite of the massive increase in the demand for testing we have greatly increased the number of contacts that are being reached from the index cases.”
Mr Johnson continued: “He (Sir Keir) asks about what we’re doing to support businesses, to support families and to support communities across the country as though we haven’t already, quite rightly, spent £160 billion to support businesses and jobs and livelihoods across the country.
“And we will continue to put our arms around the people of this country.”
He added: “What I can tell him is that in putting forward the message of support I hope he will also say to everyone in his constituency and elsewhere that this is a balanced and proportionate response to the crisis that we face.”