Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation on Thursday night in a Downing Street press conference after it was announced an new tier system will replace the national lockdown on December 2.
Mr Johnson appeared in person having previously been in self-isolation due to meeting an MP two weeks ago who later tested positive for coronavirus.
Appearing alongside England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and the UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance, the PM explained what we can expect from the government’s winter plan.
Here are his key points you need to know.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened his speech with a warning as the country prepares to move out of national lockdown on December 2.
“Together we have prevented out NHS from being overwhelmed,” he said.
“If we ease off now, we risk losing control of this virus all over again… forcing us back into a new year national lockdown with all the damage that would mean.
“The tough measures in our winter plan are the best way to avoid this outcome.”
A message to the hospitality sector
The hospitality sector will be hit the hardest with venues across the country having already been forced to shut throughout lockdown.
From December 2, the majority of these venues will continue to be in the top two tiers of restrictions.
“I’m sorry to confirm that from Wednesday most of England will be in the top two tiers with the toughest measure,” the Prime Minister confirmed.
“I know that this will bring a great deal of heartache and frustration, especially to our vital hospitality sector.
“Our pubs, our restaurants, our hotels, in so many ways the heart and soul of our communities and which continue to bear a disproportionate share of the burden.
“I really wish it were otherwise but if we’re going to keep schools open as we must, then our options in bearing down on the disease are necessarily limited.”
Follow Liverpool’s example
The Prime Minister has highlighted the city of Liverpool as “success story” he wants the rest of the country to replicate with regards to mass testing.
He said: “In Liverpool in the space of two-and-a-half weeks over 240,000 tests have been conducted and together with national restrictions this has helped to reduce the number of cases by more than two thirds.
“Having previously been in tier 3, Liverpool city region and Warrington will now be in tier 2. This is a success story which we want other parts of the country to replicate.”
Areas could be broken down further
The Prime Minister confirmed earlier this week mass testing will be available in tier three areas in order to control outbreaks as many people spreading the virus do not show any symptoms and pass on the infection unknowingly.
And despite success in Liverpool, Boris Johnson admitted it was still “untested.”
He said: “Testing on this scale is untried but in due course, if it works, where people test negative, it may also be possible for families and communities to be released from certain restrictions even if their home area remains in tier three.”
“Means of escape”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed earlier today that tier restrictions will be reviewed every 14 days, something Boris Johnson was keen to address.
“The allocation of tiers will be reviewed every 14 days, starting on December 16,” he said.
“Your tier is not your destiny, every area has the means of escape and I have no doubt that together we can get through this winter, suppress the virus until vaccines come to our aid and then reclaim our lives and all of the things that we love.”
On tougher tiers
Boris Johnson says the new tier restrictions “strike a balance” as people learned the restrictions that will be in place in their area earlier today.
“These tougher tiers strike a balance, they’re sufficient to continue driving the virus downwards but it’s important to recognise they’re less intrusive than the current national measures,” he explained.
“But there’s no doubt that the restrictions in all tiers are tough and I’m sorry about that.”