DEATHS from coronavirus will be twice as high this winter than in the first wave of the pandemic, Tory PM Boris Johnson told Parliament yesterday afternoon, ‘unless we take action’.
He said there is ‘no alternative’ as he sought to win support for a planned four-week lockdown in England from Thursday.
However, the far right of the Tory party are organising a rebellion, with as many as 80 Tory MPs reported to be planning to vote against the measures tomorrow.
The vote can only pass with the aid of the Labour Party, who verified that they will vote with Johnson to push the measures through.
Claiming that he was ‘right to try every possible option’ before ordering people to stay at home, Johnson said: ‘The virus is spreading even faster than the worst case scenario.
‘There are already more patients in hospital now than at the height of the first wave – there are 2,000 more patients in hospital this Sunday than last Sunday.’
Outlining the measures yesterday in Parliament Johnson announced the following:
- People will be told to stay at home except for specific reasons. These include work which cannot be done from home, childcare or education, exercise outdoors, medical reasons, essential shopping, providing care for vulnerable people or for volunteering, and visiting members of your support bubble.
- Meeting indoors or in private gardens will not be allowed, but individuals can meet one other person from another household outside in a public place. Children under school age and those dependent on round-the-clock care who are with their parents do not count towards the two-person limit.
- Non-essential retail will close, but can remain open for click-and-collect delivery.
- Pubs, bars, restaurants will have to close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery, excluding takeaway of alcohol.
Labour leader Keir Starmer said: ‘The 12 billion pound track and trace and regional restrictions have not only failed to stop a second wave, they have been swept away by it.
‘At every stage the Prime Minister has been too slow.
‘Tougher national restrictions are now needed. The virus is out of control, and the cost of further inaction would be huge.
‘So Labour will provide the votes necessary to make this happen.’
Meanwhile, the SNP, Labour and Tory leaders from England, Scotland and Wales said yesterday that they will ‘work together’ on a ‘joint approach to the Christmas period’ after diverging over Covid restrictions in recent weeks.