Four weeks of second lockdown ‘will be enough’ says Boris

Four weeks of lockdown in England will be “enough” to make a “real impact” on coronavirus infection rates, Boris Johnson has said.

On the first day of England’s second national lockdown, the prime minister used a Downing Street news conference to express his hope of “as normal a Christmas as possible” after the month-long restrictions.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential shops are now closed across the country and will stay shut until December. 2

People have been told to stay at home except when attending school, college, university, going to work or buying essential items such as food or medicines.

The prime minister said there were now 12,320 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, up from 2,602 a month earlier, with 1,142 patients on mechanical ventilators, up from 369 a month earlier.

Mr Johnson said the UK Government and the devolved administrations are working on a “joint approach” to the Christmas period, “because all of us want to ensure families can come together, wherever they live”.

He also told the news conference: “If we follow this package of measures in the way that we can and we have done before, I have no doubt people will be able to have as normal a Christmas as possible and that we will be able to get things open before Christmas as well.”

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The Prime Minister announced a further £15m would be given to councils to offer safe accommodation for people sleeping rough or at risk of becoming homeless during England’s second lockdown.

The prime minister appeared at the news conference alongside NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens, who warned that the second wave of coronavirus infections was “real and it’s serious”.

Sir SImon said around 30,000 NHS staff were either off work with coronavirus, or having to self-isolate, as he stressed the need to control the spread of COVID-19.