Boris Johnson is facing calls to impose harsher Covid restrictions in England today, as cases continue to surge across the UK. Experts have urged caution in the wake of a looming disaster for the NHS, with hospital bed occupancy rates surging past the April peak. The public now needs direction, and both the opposition and health officials have warned the Prime Minister against “dithering”.
Is Boris Johnson speaking today?
The Prime Minister and his ministers traditionally announce new Covid restrictions from a podium at Downing Street.
The press conferences have formed a staple of life for Brits over the last year, with every key policy decision launched from there.
The Prime Minister recently hinted some changes to the national Covid policy framework could be incoming.
READ MORE: Sturgeon to plunge Scotland into March-style covid restrictions
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on the weekend, he said the Government “may” need to toughen up.
He said: “It may be that we need to do things in the next few weeks that will be tougher in many parts of the country, I’m fully reconciled with that.”
Mr Johnson added: “I bet the people of this country are reconciled to that.”
The Prime Minister has not indicated whether he will address the public from Downing Street today, but this doesn’t rule out any last-minute conferences.
But he has not disclosed whether further months-long closures are on the cards.
Some unions have now proposed teachers refuse to attend school until the Government can assure their safety.
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), urged Mr Williamson to move classes online.
He said NEU members have “a legal right to refuse to work in unsafe conditions which are a danger to their health and to the health of their school communities and more generally”.
He added: “We are calling on Gavin Williamson to actually do what he professes he does – to follow the science and announce, now, that primary schools in England should move learning online – apart from key worker and vulnerable children, for at least the first two weeks of January.
“Whilst we are calling on the government to take the right steps, as a responsible union we cannot simply agree that the Government’s wrong steps should be implemented.”
Experts have identified schools as potential Covid hotspots, with infections spreading through younger people at an increased rate compared to early 2020.
While children remain at a reduced risk of severe complications from Covid-19, they could spread the disease to vulnerable family members.