Downing Street insists England lockdown will end on 2 December
Boris Johnson trying to ‘ensure people can spend time with close family over Christmas’
Matt Hancock had previously hinted national lockdown could be extended
The government has insisted England’s national lockdown will end on 2 December.
It comes after health secretary Matt Hancock refused to guarantee the national restrictions will end on this date at a press conference on Monday.
But Downing Street said on Tuesday: “The current restrictions will lapse in law on 2 December and it’s the prime minister’s intention to go back to a regionalised approach.”
A post-lockdown plan is expected to be revealed next week.
Watch: 8 exceptions to England's second national lockdown
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman also said the PM is continuing efforts to allow people to see their families at Christmas.
“We are looking at ways to ensure that people can spend time with close family over Christmas at the end of what has been an incredibly difficult year.”
On Monday, Hancock had hinted the lockdown could be prolonged as “it is too early for us to know what the number of cases will be as we come to the end of the current lockdown”.
“At the moment, most of the tests we’re getting back, and most of the positive cases, are from around the time the lockdown came in, so we are yet to see in the data – and it’s too early to expect to see in the data – the impact of the second lockdown.
“But we absolutely hope to be able to replace the national lockdown with a tiered system similar to what we had before.”
Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Hancock also said it was “too early” to say whether local Tier 1 rules will have to be tightened when the national lockdown does end.
Dr Susan Hopkins, one of the government’s top COVID advisers, has said the Tier 1 rules didn’t work.
Tier 1 was the least severe of Johnson’s three-tier local lockdown system, allowing social gatherings of six people from six different households.