It has been announced that Prime Minister Boris John will lead a Downing Street press conference today (Wed 30 Dec).
This follows several big recent announcements from the government, including Brexit news, possible coronavirus tier changes, and the approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine in the UK.
When is Boris Johnson speaking?
Downing Street has confirmed that the Prime Minister will lead Wednesday’s No 10 press conference at 5pm.
Johnson will likely mention the approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, which was officially approved for use in the UK today.
Earlier, Johnson tweeted, “It is truly fantastic news - and a triumph for British science - that the @UniofOxford/@AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use.
“We will not move to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible.”
With more than 40 per cent of the English population currently under Tier 4 restrictions, and with cases rising, harsher restrictions are expected in order to tackle the spread of the virus.
While Johnson has not ruled out a third national lockdown, a government source told The Mirror that ministers could possibly add “another level on to Tier 4, so like a Tier 5.”
What could Tier 5 restrictions look like?
Currently, Tier 4 restrictions dictate that all non-essential businesses must close their doors once again, which includes the likes of retail stores, indoor gyms and entertainment venues.
Hospitality venues must also close for sit in purposes, but can continue to operate as takeaway, delivery and drive-through services.
The government states, “If you live in a Tier 4 area, you must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse (for example, for work or education purposes).”
Introducing a fifth tier would mean implementing even harsher restrictions, which could look similar to the first national lockdown that occurred in spring.
During that lockdown, people were only allowed to leave their home for food shopping, medical reasons or for one hour of exercise per day.
Another main difference between Tier 4 and the original national lockdown is that schools, universities and places of worship can currently remain open.
The government has already been called upon to delay the start of the new school term in January, with scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine warning that the R number would not fall below one “unless primary schools, secondary schools, and universities are also closed.”
Who else is speaking today?
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is also speaking today - he is set to address the House of Commons at 3pm. Tier restrictions are set to be reviewed every two weeks, by law.
When asked whether he would be placing more areas into higher tiers today, Hancock told Good Morning Britain, “Yes, I’m afraid I’m going to have to.”
It is widely expected that millions more are set to be placed under Tier 4 restrictions, with further reports indicating that a Tier 5 could be announced.
Additionally, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will speak after Hancock, issuing a statement to the House of Commons at 4pm. Williamson will give an update on schools, and when children can expect to return to classrooms.
Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “The Education Secretary will be setting out his proposals later today. Clearly we want to protect education as much as possible.
“But the new variant does make it much easier for this disease to transmit. So we are going to protect education as much as we can.”
How can I watch the statements?
All the Downing Street speeches made today will be available to watch via BBC Parliament.
A version of this article originally appeared on our sister site The Yorkshire Post