BORIS Johnson is to hold a Downing Street press conference with the chief medical officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, and the UK Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, this evening.
The Prime Minister will give an update after he announced a strict new coronavirus lockdown for the whole of England.
His announcement came after Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed Scots would be required to stay at home unless they have a reasonable excuse to be out until the end of January.
In recent days the UK has published record-breaking Covid case data, while there are more people in hospital with coronavirus in England than during the peak of the first wave.
Yesterday the UK recorded 58,784 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily total since pandemic started.
Scotland recorded 1905 cases, representing a positivity rate of 15%.
The measures in England are expected to last until March, and it is understood today’s conference will focus on explaining the lockdown restrictions currently in place.
Ahead of Johnson’s 5pm conference it has emerged ministers are considering introducing a requirement for international arrivals to have a negative coronavirus test before travelling to Britain to tackle surging cases.
The Prime Minister has faced some calls to strengthen border protections to prevent the arrival of new cases, particularly of new and concerning strains.
However he made no mention of the border during his address to England last night.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “Protecting public health in the UK is of the utmost importance and we are looking at what additional measures could be taken with regards to international travel.”
During the first lockdown, the Government argued against introducing border restrictions while the prevalence was so high in the UK, with experts arguing it would do little to bring down infection rates.
A quarantine period, however, was introduced in June after the first peak and when cases were more under control.
Conservative former health secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday called for the closure of the borders, with an “off-the-scale” winter crisis brewing within the NHS.
Ahead of the Prime Minister’s statement, the chairman of the Commons Health and Social Care Committee wrote on Twitter: “Time to act: thread on why we need to close schools, borders, and ban all household mixing RIGHT AWAY.”