UK News: Johnson to address MPs ahead of vote on England’s lockdown

Boris Johnson forces EastEnders and Coronation Street into TV clash

  Boris Johnson forces EastEnders and Coronation Street into TV clash Currently, BBC's EastEnders will now air at the later time of 8.35pm, meaning it will be in direct competition with ITV's Coronation Street's second episode which begins airing at 8.30pm. © Provided by Daily Mail Soap clash! Boris Johnson's address to the nation at 8pm has forced rival soaps EastEnders and Coronation Street into TV clash - although the BBC's timings are subject to change Soap fans took to Twitter to voice their upset at the timing of Boris' address to the nation, with one person tweeting: 'WHY DOES THE CONFERENCE HAVE TO BE AT 8PM HE ALWAYS HAS TO RUIN THE ENTIRE EVENING.


Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference in response to the ongoing situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, inside 10 Downing Street, London, Britain, January 5, 2021. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool © Thomson Reuters Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference in response to the ongoing situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, inside 10 Downing Street, London, Britain, January 5, 2021. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool

MPs will vote on England’s latest lockdown with Boris Johnson under pressure over the chaos over schools and his strategy for deploying coronavirus vaccines.

The Commons has been recalled from its Christmas recess to debate and retrospectively vote on the measures announced by the Prime Minister on Monday.

The Prime Minister will update MPs on the new controls, while Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will set out his plans for England’s pupils after schools were closed, with GCSE and A-level exams cancelled.

Covid restrictions imposed on England could fail to stop the spread

  Covid restrictions imposed on England could fail to stop the spread Wales entered a Tier 4 lockdown on December 20, with restrictions barring non-essential shops, gyms and hospitality venues from opening. Only essential travel was permitted, and working from home was ordered to take place 'wherever possible'. This came after Wales went into lockdown on October 23, which saw an initial drop in cases, followed by another sharp rise, with First Minister Mark Drakeford saying the situation had 'deteriorated'.All of Wales is now at alert Level 4, meaning people should stay at home, not mix with other households and not travel without a reasonable excuse.

Mr Johnson believes the rollout of vaccines will provide a route out of lockdown, but his strategy was criticised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

A man wearing a face mask to curb the spread of coronavirus walks past traditional red phone boxes in the City of London financial district in London, Jan. 5, 2021, on the first morning of England entering a third national lockdown since the coronavirus outbreak began. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday night announced a tough new stay-at-home order that will last at least six weeks, as authorities struggle to stem a surge in COVID-19 infections that threatens to overwhelm hospitals around the U.K. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © ASSOCIATED PRESS A man wearing a face mask to curb the spread of coronavirus walks past traditional red phone boxes in the City of London financial district in London, Jan. 5, 2021, on the first morning of England entering a third national lockdown since the coronavirus outbreak began. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday night announced a tough new stay-at-home order that will last at least six weeks, as authorities struggle to stem a surge in COVID-19 infections that threatens to overwhelm hospitals around the U.K. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

The Government is giving the vaccine to as many priority patients as possible with a second shot after 12 weeks, rather than hold back supplies to offer the booster dose three weeks after the first jab.

This year's GCSE and A Level exams are CANCELLED

  This year's GCSE and A Level exams are CANCELLED The UK's education secretary said: 'The Government position is that we will not be asking students to sit GCSE and A Levels.'The education secretary said in a statement: 'The Government position is that we will not be asking students to sit GCSE and A Levels.

The WHO said it would not recommend that approach, instead suggesting the interval should be between three and four weeks.

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More on coronavirus:

Download the Microsoft News app for full coverage of the crisis

What are the latest lockdown rules? (Evening Standard)

Third lockdown: Why Britain failed, again (The Atlantic)

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Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the Government had a “stretching” target of vaccinating 14 million people in the highest priority groups – the elderly, those with clinical needs, care home residents and staff and frontline NHS workers – by February 15

The Government wants England’s schools to reopen after the February half-term starting that week, but experts warned that would depend on progress in the battle to curb Covid-19 cases.

Lockdown becomes LAW: Boris Johnson is set to face MPs ahead of vote

  Lockdown becomes LAW: Boris Johnson is set to face MPs ahead of vote The Commons has been recalled from its Christmas recess for the second time, to debate and retrospectively vote on the measures announced by the Prime Minister on Monday. Boris Johnson will update MPs on the new controls – which include the closure of schools to most pupils and a return to the stay at home order that has left streets empty again. Police have warned it will be 'impossible' to fine everyone caught leaving their homes without a 'reasonable excuse' with the Met already down 1,300 officers because of sickness and self-isolating.

Gallery: Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around the world (Photo Services) 

Around 1.3 million people in the UK have been vaccinated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech jabs and Mr Zahawi said there will be a “massive acceleration” in the coming days.

He told Sky News: “I’m confident that as we begin to deploy and get more sites operational – I talked about the hospitals, the GPs, the community pharmacies and the national vaccination centres – so we will be at over 1,000 sites vaccinating.”

There have been concerns about the speed at which vaccines can be ready for injection.

The bulk vaccine has to undergo a “sterility test” when it goes to the “fill and finish” operation to make it ready for use.

chart, line chart: (PA Graphic) © Provided by PA Media (PA Graphic)

“The MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) are doing everything in their capability to do it properly without cutting corners and safety to test every batch,” Mr Zahawi said.

“The worst thing we can do… in a national vaccination programme that is the biggest in this nation’s history, is to get this wrong.”

The regulations enforcing England’s national lockdown came into effect at 00.01am on Wednesday, as new figures suggested one in 50 people had coronavirus last week.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested 1.1 million people in private households in England had Covid-19 between December 27 and January 2.

A person walks with an umbrella in light rain in the City of London financial district in London, Jan. 5, 2021, on the first morning of England entering a third national lockdown since the coronavirus outbreak began. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday night announced a tough new stay-at-home order, as authorities struggle to stem a surge in COVID-19 infections that threatens to overwhelm hospitals around the U.K. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © ASSOCIATED PRESS A person walks with an umbrella in light rain in the City of London financial district in London, Jan. 5, 2021, on the first morning of England entering a third national lockdown since the coronavirus outbreak began. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday night announced a tough new stay-at-home order, as authorities struggle to stem a surge in COVID-19 infections that threatens to overwhelm hospitals around the U.K. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

The number of daily confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK topped 60,000 for the first time, while a further 830 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Tuesday.

The latest data from NHS England showed there were 26,467 Covid-19 patients in hospital as of 8am on January 5 – a week-on-week increase of 21%.

England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said the risk level will gradually decrease over time with measures being “lifted by degrees possibly at different rates in different parts of the country”, but warned some restrictions may have to be introduced again next winter.

Graham Medley, professor of infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and a member of Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said “we’re in for a long haul” in the fight with coronavirus.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05: : People wait for the train in Birmingham Grand Central Train Station during the nationwide lockdown on January 05, 2021 in Birmingham, England. British Prime Minister made a national television address on Monday evening  announcing England is to enter its third lockdown of the covid-19 pandemic. On Monday the UK recorded more than 50,000 new confirmed Covid cases for the seventh day in a row. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images) © 2021 Nathan Stirk BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05: : People wait for the train in Birmingham Grand Central Train Station during the nationwide lockdown on January 05, 2021 in Birmingham, England. British Prime Minister made a national television address on Monday evening announcing England is to enter its third lockdown of the covid-19 pandemic. On Monday the UK recorded more than 50,000 new confirmed Covid cases for the seventh day in a row. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “Vaccination is a way out, but I think he’s right to raise that possibility that there could be – next winter or even the winter after – the possibility that we will see a resurgence of Covid to such an extent that Government again has to take measures to prevent another large outbreak.”

All parts of the UK are now under stringent coronavirus restrictions.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon imposed a lockdown on Scotland for the rest of January, with a legal requirement to stay at home and schools closed to most pupils until February.

Schools and colleges in Wales will also remain closed until at least January 18 and move to online learning, with GCSE and A-level exams already cancelled.

chart, histogram: (PA Graphic) © Provided by PA Media (PA Graphic)

In Northern Ireland, schools are to engage in remote learning until the mid-term break but there is no clarity on whether exams will go ahead.

Mr Williamson will set out his approach for England’s schools when he addresses MPs.

Public Health England’s Susan Hopkins said there was no guarantee that schools would be able to return after the scheduled February break.

She told the BBC: “I think it will really depend on the epidemiology of the virus… we will have to look at it by year, age group by age group, as happened the first time round, and the final decisions will lay with Government over when they want to bring the students back.”

Education Select Committee chairman Robert Halfon told Sky News the situation regarding schools was “a mess”.

“I think now we have to move on and make sure we have an exam system that is a level playing field for students and fair to the disadvantaged,” he said.

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Stay alert to stop coronavirus spreading - here is the latest government guidance. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.

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