Covid: Boris Johnson hosts 'critical moment' Downing Street briefing 🔴 @BBC News live - BBC
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Boris Johnson is joined by Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England, and Stephen Powis, NHS medical director for England.
Here's a round-up of the key points:
PM Boris Johnson said the UK is at a “critical moment” in its battle with the virus, but the prospect of freedom is “within reach”
The PM said: “We've got to redouble our efforts to contain the virus.”
The "sheer pace" of the spread of the new variant "requires us now to take even tougher action in some areas" as more areas of England are placed under tier four restrictions from midnight, he said
But the PM said he was “confident” the country’s situation would be better by 5 April - Easter Monday. “Obviously we will try and bring that date forward as fast as we can, and that’s why the vaccine roll-out programme is so important,” he said.
In most of England, primary school pupils will still return next week, as planned
To minimise disruption in schools the government is "massively expanding" its testing operation, the prime minister said. Every secondary school pupil will be tested as they return "and regularly thereafter"
The approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is a "fantastic achievement for British science" which will allow the UK to vaccinate more people more quickly, Johnson said
He also called on people to stay at home for the new year. Prof Stephen Powis, NHS England's national medical director, reiterated the point: “Covid loves a crowd, so please leave the parties for later in the year."
BBC News Live | Coronavirus Press Conference | UK Government Press Briefing | BBC
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