Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to announce new national restrictions to tackle the spread of coronavirus, as cases continue to rise in the UK and across Europe.
Downing Street has confirmed he will say all pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues must close at 10pm, while people have been told to work from home again if they can, from Thursday, September 24.
And they will also be restricted by law to providing table service only.
Michael Gove said there would be a “shift in emphasis” and “if it is possible for people to work from home they should do so”.
“They are reluctant steps that we’re taking, but they’re absolutely necessary because as we were reminded yesterday and as you’ve been reporting, the rate of infection is increasing, the number of people going to the hospital is increasing, therefore we need to act,” the Cabinet Office minister told Kay Burley.
Unlike recent local restrictions, the new measures will apply across the whole of England.
Mr Johnson will then make a televised address to the nation and unveil a range of new measures to tackle the dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases, at 8pm.
The Prime Minister will talk about the role everyone can continue to play in tackling the spread of the virus, including by following the social distancing guidance, wearing face coverings and washing hands regularly.
He will also talk about further ways his government will fight coronavirus, but no details about this portion of his speech have been released so far.
According to a Number 10 spokesman, the TV broadcast will be about “further ways we will confront the virus in line with the latest scientific advice, and the role everyone can continue to play in tackling the spread, including by following the social distancing guidance, wearing face coverings and washing hands regularly”.
“No-one under-estimates 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.”
Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy told the end of the government’s back to work drive was not a surprise, adding: “If it takes the pressure off those people who have to go into the workplace, then I think it’s very welcome news.”
She also added: “But I do hope the government comes forward with a much more comprehensive message later today.
“I think people are now really struggling to understand what it is they’re being asked to do and why.”
New national restrictions will come on top of all the measures previously announced. That includes the national “rule of six”, barring gatherings of more than six people, and the local restrictions in Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell and Wolverhampton, which bar people from different households from being together at all, in private homes or gardens.
the number of cases is currently doubling around every seven days, and if we continue on this trajectory, this could lead to 50,000 cases a day by the middle of October – leading to more than 200 deaths every day.
The COVID-19 alert level has moved from Level 3 to Level 4 after the data showed the number of cases was rising rapidly.
Speaking on Monday, Sir Patrick Vallance said that in mid-September, around 3,000 new cases were recorded every day in the UK and if the growth continued unabated that would result in 50,000 cases by the middle of October.
He warned the “50,000 cases per day would be expected to lead a month later, so the middle of November, say, to 200-plus deaths per day”.
“The challenge, therefore, is to make sure the doubling time does not stay at seven days.”
Prof Chris Whitty suggested that science would eventually “ride to our rescue” but “in this period of the next six months, I think we have to realise that we have to take this, collectively, very seriously”.
The Government said that as of 9am on Monday, there had been a further 4,368 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.
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