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Live Reporting

Edited by John Hand

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all for today

    We're ending our live coverage of the prime minster's briefing shortly, so thank you for joining us.

    Today's live page was brought to you by John Hand, Jo Couzens, Hazel Shearing and Sophie Williams.

  2. Reality Check

    Furlough extended weeks after Manchester stand-off

    Barman carrying drinks

    Hours before it was due to end, the furlough scheme has been extended.

    About 10 million jobs have already been subsidised by the scheme - which pays up to 80% of the wages of people who can’t work due to coronavirus.

    It was about to be replaced by the Job Support Scheme (JSS), which offered varying levels of support depending on whether businesses could still stay open.

    The government faced a stand-off with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham over the introduction of tier three “very high” coronavirus measures in the city, rejecting his demands for a return to the 80% furlough payment.

    Just weeks later, the scheme has been extended across the whole of the country.

    In recent months, employers have had to pay toward the scheme but will now only pay pension and national insurance contributions.

  3. Reality Check

    What was the PM advised to do by Sage?

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked at the briefing whether England faced a “longer lockdown” now because he hadn’t followed scientific advice five weeks ago.

    So, what was that advice?

    The Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) said on 21 September that, because cases were increasing across the country in all age groups, a "circuit breaker" - a short period of national lockdown - should be considered for "immediate introduction".

    Boris Johnson decided not to follow this advice at the time - Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer supported the circuit breaker plan when the Sage advice was published in October.

    Instead, the prime minister backed the introduction of a tier system for England - with different levels of restrictions for areas with different levels of coronavirus infection.

    Mr Johnson is now arguing that, confronted with data showing a surge in coronavirus cases and predictions that the NHS could be put under significant pressure, “it’s right that the government should change its approach”.

    He also said the government was paying attention to other scientific advice as well: "We've had to listen to all kinds of scientific advice, some of which tends in very much a different direction than some of the Sage advice that you've seen.

    "But we also have to balance that scientific advice with the consequences for people's lives and people's mental health and people's livelihoods that comes from lockdown measures."

  4. A look back at England's first lockdown

    A person watches Boris make the lockdown announcement in March
    Image caption: The first lockdown was announced on 23 March

    The first lockdown in England was announced on 23 March, when Boris Johnson addressed the nation in a special broadcast, outlining the new restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

    Under the measures, people were only allowed to leave home to exercise once a day, travel to and from work when “absolutely necessary”, shop for essential items and fulfil any medical or care needs.

    Schools were closed and shops selling non-essential goods were shut along with gyms and public gatherings were banned.

    Easing of the measures happened in stages.

    On 1 June, children began returning to school. Two weeks, later non-essential shops were allowed to reopen along with zoos and safari parks.

    Pubs opened their doors again on 4 July followed by beauty salons, nail bars and tattoo shops.

    On August 15, small wedding receptions were allowed and bowling alleys and casinos reopened.

    But a few weeks later, the prime minister warned of a second wave of the virus.

  5. So how is this different from the last national lockdown?

    A classroom
    Image caption: Unlike last time, schools will stay open.

    The new raft of measures will come in from Thursday, but not everything will be the same as the first lockdown. For example:

    • Schools, colleges and universities will remain open
    • Workplaces will be told to stay open where people can't work from home, including in construction and manufacturing
    • Support bubbles will remain for people who live alone and households made up of single parents and children
    • Children will be able to move between homes if their parents are separated
    • Those deemed vulnerable or older people will be told to be especially careful in following the rules and minimise contact with others, but shielding measures won't be reintroduced
  6. Three ways to measure UK deaths

    It's worth noting that there are different ways to measure the total UK's death toll.

    The government's coronavirus dashboard counts deaths that occurred within 28 days of a positive test result, but other measurements give a higher total figure.

    Three ways to measure UK deaths
  7. Latest figures show cases and deaths continue to rise in UK

    Here is some of the latest government data on the pandemic in the UK, showing that daily confirmed cases and deaths are continuing to rise.

    Coronavirus total deaths, total cases and hospital admissions
    Daily confirmed cases continue to rise
    Daily deaths are rising
  8. The picture in the rest of the UK

    The measures announced by Boris Johnson today are for England.

    Wales remains under a 17-day "firebreak" lockdown until 9 November in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

    Scotland has introduced a new five-tiered system which is set to come into force on Monday. People have been advised not to travel to or from England except for essential purposes.

    Northern Ireland has closed pubs and restaurants for four weeks, with the exception of takeaways and deliveries.

  9. What will change in England from Thursday?

    People planking in the gym
    Image caption: Gyms will be among the venues that have to close
    • Non-essential shops will have to close, as will pubs, bars and restaurants except for takeaways
    • Leisure and entertainment venues, including gyms, will all close, but click and collect and delivery services are still allowed
    • People will only be allowed to leave home for specific reasons, including education, work, if it's not possible to do work from home, exercise and recreation, medical reasons, food and other essential shopping, and to provide care for vulnerable people or if volunteering
    • Households won't be allowed to mix indoors or in private gardens. But people will be allowed to meet one other person from another household outside in a public place.
  10. Slides from today's briefing

    During the news conference, it was explained that the number of hospital admissions is rising rapidly.

    Scientists have made a projection to see how the number of daily admissions would rise over the next six weeks.

    As shown by the graph below, the number would surpass the figures of the first wave.

    A graph showing a projection of hospital admissions
    Hospital admissions by age group

    Graphs show that those in the older age categories are driving hospital admission rates. However the number of admissions are rising for categories over the age of 15.

    The number of people with Covid-19 in inpatient beds in England has also risen, as shown by the chart below.

    A graph showing inpatient rates
  11. Analysis: PM has been avoiding this for weeks

    Nick Eardley

    Political correspondent

    Boris Johnson has been trying to avoid this for weeks.

    The scientists called for a circuit-breaker weeks ago – Labour have been doing the same for the last fortnight.

    The government is still defending the local lockdown strategy but things have changed.

    The graphs we saw in the press conference show a real risk the NHS could be overwhelmed if action isn’t taken now.

    The PM’s argument is that he is reacting to a virus that is now spreading far quicker than feared.

    But some will look at the warnings of the last few weeks and ask why this action wasn’t taken sooner.

  12. Tiered measures not having enough effect, says scientist

    Professor Neil Ferguson

    Tiered measures are not having a big enough effect on virus transmission, Professor Neil Ferguson from Imperial College has warned.

    He told the BBC News relaxed measures meant the virus had resurged.

    “Whilst the tier two, tier three measures are having some effect, it doesn’t seem to be enough. If we want to get very high infection levels down, we need to impose more measures particularly ahead of Christmas." he said.

    He added there was always some question as to whether tier three measures were sufficient and insisted it had proved not to be the case.

    Mr Ferguson warned that infection levels will increase again, adding: "The important question is what will follow this lockdown."

  13. PM returns to familiar 'stay at home' message

    Nick Eardley

    Political correspondent

    This is one of the starkest updates we’ve seen from the government for months.

    Although elements of the lockdown will look different this time, the PM has returned to the theme that dominated our lives earlier this year: “Stay at home”.

    He is defending his strategy so far – the local interventions designed to avoid this national lockdown. He says the picture has been evolving.

    But there will be big political questions for the government – remember, Labour have been calling for a circuit-breaker for weeks now.

  14. PM ends briefing with 'hand, face, space, test' advice

    Mr Johnson thanked people for tuning in.

    He said: "Just to repeat, the three rays of sunshine of optimism from our scientific medical adviser.

    "The prospect of better drugs, realistic prospect of a vaccine and the hopes that we're placing in rapid turnaround testing that we're rolling out across the country.

    "In the meantime we have to put in place these tougher measures. Don't forget the basics, hand, space, face, get a test."

  15. Analysis: The light-touch approach has not worked

    Pallab Ghosh

    Science correspondent, BBC News

    The government was advised to bring in a form of lockdown in England by its scientific advisory group on 21 September.

    Instead, it opted first for 22:00 GMT closing of pubs and restaurants. This was followed a few weeks later by its tier system where the greatest restrictions would be placed in the worst-hit areas.

    Purely from a public health point of view, bringing in a lockdown when the experts advised it would have been the sensible thing to do. It would have been shorter, brought cases down more quickly and given the test-and-trace system a chance to catch up with the rise in cases.

    But minsters had to consider the economic impact as well as the politics. They had hoped their light-touch approach might have been enough to control the spread of the virus while preserving jobs and businesses.

    Many scientists on the scientific advisory group were deeply sceptical at the time that this would work. All of them appreciate the difficult decisions ministers are faced with and none of them take any satisfaction from having been proved right.

  16. Premier League to continue under lockdown

    Asked about the Premier League, the prime minister says football will continue.

    Giving a big thumbs up, Mr Johnson says: "Yes to the Premier League".

    Matches are currently taking place but with strict rules for players and no live audiences.

  17. 'Want to avoid downsides' of shielding - Whitty

    Prof Whitty says those who were shielding - just over two million people - still need to take extra precautions.

    However, he explains that the government does not want to "reproduce" the shielding programme from the spring.

    "There were both some practical problems and there was also the issue of people having significant problems with loneliness and feeling completely cut off from society," he says.

    He says the government wants to "avoid those downsides".

  18. Reality Check

    What’s the risk of spreading coronavirus at university?

    Glasgow students

    Unlike the March lockdown, universities will not be required to close during this new period of tougher restrictions.

    On 21 September, government advisory group Sage recommended that all university teaching should be moved online unless absolutely essential. The group has suggested closing universities would have a “moderate impact” on transmission, as the high level of close contact students have at university – through shared halls, socialising and during lectures – makes outbreaks very likely.

    This has proved to be the case; within weeks of students returning to university, about 40 universities had reports of coronavirus, with thousands of students having to self-isolate. Many universities have been switching tuition online.

  19. 'All the solutions are bad' - Whitty

    Prof Whitty says "the idea that there is some perfect time to act is a complete misapprehension".

    He says "all the solutions are bad" and the government is trying to go with "the least bad set of solutions".

    He adds: "Let us see how this goes over the next few weeks."

  20. 'We're seeing consistent surge' in virus, says PM

    The PM is asked whether he should have followed the scientific advice more closely and whether he has any regrets.

    He says: "We have to balance that scientific advice with the consequences for people's lives, for people's mental health, people's livelihoods that comes from lockdown measures."

    He stresses that schools are being kept open, and he wants to keep construction and manufacturing open.

    "I'm not going to pretend to you that these judgements aren't incredibly difficult," he says.

    "We have to change with the changing pattern of the virus. And, alas, what we're seeing now is a pretty consistent surge."

    He adds: "We have to deal with it."