Boris Johnson speech: PM addresses nation with Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance as coronavirus cases soar
BORIS Johnson is about to address the nation tonight on the latest coronavirus data – the day after a record high number of cases were confirmed in the UK.
The PM will appear flanked by his top boffins Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance at 5pm when he gives the public the most up-to-date figures on cases, deaths, and how fast the virus is spreading.
And he will again beg the nation to pull together and follow the rules in order to avoid another national lockdown.
However, he’s likely to say the impact of last week’s 10pm curfew and the new local lockdown restrictions won’t be seen just yet.
He told Cabinet earlier the rise in daily infections and deaths “shows the importance of everyone continuing to follow the rules”.
More work is being done to prepare the NHS for the winter months, with extra funding to make sure hospitals and Nightingale establishments are ready if needed to meet surging demand.
Britain recorded more than 7,143 cases of coronavirus again yesterday – a new record high.
Today 7,108 cases were recorded, showing yesterday’s spike wasn’t just an anomoly.
But because more tests are being done than at the start of the pandemic, the figures aren’t directly comparable.
His national address came as:
- Matt Hancock revealed a peace deal with Tory rebels which would see them get a vote on new national measures wherever possible
- Eight people have died and six are in a critical condition after a covid outbreak in Rhodda Cynon Taf, caused by a superspreader
- Bizarre new rules came into action in the North East which bans more than one person from singing indoors at the same time
Last week Whitty and Sir Patrick gave a briefing to the nation, where they gave Brits a grim warning about the sheer scale of the outbreak.
They warned that the UK could see 50,000 coronavirus cases a day in just three weeks and deaths could soar by thousands if the bug continues to spread at its current rate.
And the coronavirus alert level was once again raised to level 4.
It’s not expected that the PM will reveal any new measures today, despite new local lockdowns expected for Merseyside and London in the coming days.
The press conference comes after days of rows over the new coronavirus laws, where grumpy MPs were threatening to rebel because they hadn’t been given a vote on them.
Most of the new laws are passed through Parliament with no votes and sometimes no debate.
Tory rebels had joined forces to demand they get a say in any future measures.
Today the Speaker refused to give the rebels a vote on the new coronavirus laws – but the Government sealed a deal with them to stave off a rebellion.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle gave the Government a slap down for not giving MPs a say on emergency measures to fight the pandemic before they came into force – but said an amendment risks undermining certainty in the law.
He said this afternoon: “I am now looking to the Government to rebuild the trust with this House and not treat it with the contempt that it has shown.”
Later on Matt Hancock revealed a peace deal with Tory rebels which would see them get a vote on new national measures “wherever possible” – which should see most of the MPs back down.
One of the chief rebels, Sir Graham Brady, said the change would “reassure Parliament and, most importantly, the British public” as he admitted he would climb down from a rebellion.
Steve Baker retweeted a message saying: “They’ve wisely extracted concessions out of the Government instead of a symbolic debate.”
The PM’s press conference today comes after he got muddled over the rule of six yesterday – wrongly saying it didn’t apply outside.
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He was unable to clearly explain what they were today as he fumbled over whether people could meet outdoors in the North East.
Later he was forced to clarify the rules with a tweet just hours after a chaotic press conference.
It comes after new laws preventing people from mixing between families will come into place in the North East today.
Boris held his top team for a Cabinet meeting this morning ahead of the press conference.