Boris Johnson says we 'must take action now' or risk second national lockdown

22 September 2020, 20:23 | Updated: 22 September 2020, 20:36

Polly Foreman

By Polly Foreman

The Prime Minister gave the warning in a televised address to the nation this evening.

Boris Johnson has warned the public that we must 'take action now' to avoid a second national lockdown in England.

Read more: Boris Johnson increases penalties for those refusing to wear a face covering in shops and public transport

In a televised address to the nation, the Prime Minister warned that tougher restrictions could be on the horizon if we don't stick to the rules he laid out in the House of Commons today.

He said: "If we were forced into a new national lockdown, that would threaten not just jobs and livelihoods, but renewed loneliness.

"We must do all we can do avoid going down that road again, but if people don't follow the rules we set out, then we must reserve the right to go further.

"We must take action now."

The Prime Minister also added: "If we can follow this package together, I know we can succeed."

Boris Johnson addressed the nation this evening
Boris Johnson addressed the nation this evening. Picture: PA

The country has seen a spike of coronavirus cases over the last few weeks, and Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance warned earlier this week that we could see 50,000 daily new cases by October if we do not curb the spread.

Speaking about the threat that coronavirus poses, Mr Johnson said this evening: "The virus has tried to spread again in an exponential way. We can see what’s happening in France and Spain, we know alas that this virus is no less fatal than it was in the spring."

The new rules introduced today included asking workers to work from home where possible, permitted wedding guests reduced to 15, pubs closing at 10pm, and retail staff having to wear face coverings at work.

The Prime Minister said we are at a 'perilous turning point' in the pandemic, and that hospital admissions have more than doubled over the last fortnight.

He said: "We always knew that, while might have driven the virus into retreat, the prospect of a second wave was real - and I am sorry to say we have reached a perilous turning point."

He also revealed that the Covid alert level has increased from three to four, adding: "This is the moment when we must act if we can curb the number of daily infections and reduce the R rate to one."