Prime Minster Boris Johnson has outlined the second lockdown restrictions due to come into force on Thursday (November 5), saying the action is needed as the coronavirus spreads.
Speaking in Parliament today (November 2) he told MPs that while the prevalence of the virus is worse in parts of the North, the doubling time in the South East and the Midlands is now faster than in the North West.
He also claimed doctors and nurses could be forced to choose which patients to treat, who would live and who would die, if the rising virus rate is not controlled.
After outlining the restriction measures first announced at the weekend, the PM revealed that for November the self employed covid grant will double from 40 to 80 per cent of trading profits. This is just for the one month, meaning November-January payments even out at around 55%.
The deadline for applications to Covid loan schemes has also been extended from the end of this month to the end of December.
Once the lockdown period ends on December 2, the PM said the country will go back to the localised tier system.
He said: “These restrictions are time limited. After four weeks, on Wednesday 2nd December, they will expire and we intend to return to a tiered system on a local and regional basis according to the latest data and trends, and the House will have a vote to agree the way forward.”
He added: “We now have not only much better medication and the prospect of a vaccine, the immediate prospect of many millions of cheap, reliable and rapid turnaround tests – with a result in minutes.
“Trials have already shown that we can help suppress the disease in hospitals, schools and universities by testing large numbers of NHS workers, children, teachers and students.
“These tests, crucially, identify people who are infectious but do not have symptoms, allowing them immediately to self-isolate and stop the spread of the disease, and allowing those who are not infectious to continue as normal.
“This means that, unlike in the spring, it’s possible to keep these institutions open and still stop the spread of the disease. And so over the next few days and weeks, we plan a steady but massive expansion in the deployment of these quick turnaround tests which we will be manufacturing in this country applying them in an ever-growing number of situations, from helping women to have their partners with them in labour wards when they’re giving birth, to testing whole towns and even cities.
“The army has been brought in to work on the logistics and the programme will begin in a matter of days.”
The PM told MPs that there is prospect of a vaccine in the first quarter of next year.