Tough new lockdown rules 'coming soon' says Johnson as government plans to 'move quickly'

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Watch: Tougher action needed to curb coronavirus spread says PM

Boris Johnson says tougher coronavirus restrictions will be announced soon as the government insisted it is prepared to ‘move quickly’.

Speaking during a visit to Chase Farm Hospital in North London, where he met some of the first people to receive the new Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the prime minister said there were “tough, tough” weeks to come.

“If you look at the numbers there’s no question we will have to take tougher measures and we will be announcing those in due course,” he said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has his temperature taken during a visit to view the vaccination programme at Chase Farm Hospital in north London, part of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. The NHS is ramping up its vaccination programme with 530,000 doses of the newly approved Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine jab available for rollout across the UK.
Boris Johnson has his temperature taken during a visit to Chase Farm Hospital in north London on Monday. (PA)

On Sunday, the UK reported more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases for the sixth day in a row, as hospital admissions continue to rise.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said on Sunday that a new national lockdown should be imposed within 24 hours, while a leading scientist also said the government needs to take immediate action.

On Monday, health secretary Matt Hancock refused to rule out the prospect of another national lockdown for England.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock during a media briefing on coronavirus (COVID-19) in Downing Street, London.
Health secretary Matt Hancock has not ruled out another lockdown for England. (PA)

He told Sky News: “We don’t rule anything out, and we’ve shown repeatedly that we will look at the public health advice and we will take the public health advice in terms of what is needed to control the spread of the disease.

“This new variant is much easier to catch, it is much more transmissible, and we’re now seeing the effect of that in lots of different parts of the country, unfortunately.

“And it means that whereas the old Tier 3 was able to contain the old variant, that is proving increasingly difficult in all parts of the country.”

He hinted at the potential for a new national lockdown in a separate interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain, saying: “We are prepared to take the sort of action if that is what’s necessary. We are prepared to move quickly.

“We look at the data all the time, and we will take the action that is needed based on public health advice.”

He added: “It’s not about not only the measures we put in place but how everybody responds to them. It’s on all of us, right?”

In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he suggested that Tier 3 areas with rising coronavirus cases could face tougher restrictions.

“There are Tier 3 areas of the country where the virus is clearly spreading and increasing, and in fact some of those areas are where it is increasing the fastest,” he said.

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“And we have moved incredibly fast to take action when necessary, including on Boxing Day, so we don’t shy away from those decisions, difficult as they are, because they can be necessary for the control of the virus.

“We have shown that we are prepared to move incredibly quickly, within 24 hours if we think that is necessary, and we keep these things under review all the time.

“We look at the data on a daily basis and we can see at the moment that there are significant rises, especially, as I say, in the areas that are still in Tier 3.”

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