Johnson signals tougher coronavirus clampdown on the way

Tougher restrictions to deal with the coronavirus crisis could be on the way in the next few weeks, Boris Johnson has signalled.

The Prime Minister said he was “fully reconciled” to a probable tightening of the anti-Covid measures.

Mr Johnson said the tiering system was already “very tough” and would likely need tightening.

The Prime Minister told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: “It may be that we need to do things in the next few weeks that will be tougher in many parts of the country.

“I’m fully, fully reconciled to that.

“There are obviously a range of tougher measures that that we would have to consider.

“I’m not going to speculate now about what they would be, but I’m sure that all our viewers and our listeners will understand what the sort of things… clearly school closures, which we had to do in March is one of those things.”

Mr Johnson said a mass vaccine programme was the way out of the tiering system.

Boris Johnson on The Andrew Marr Show
Boris Johnson on The Andrew Marr Show

He said: “What we are doing now is using the tiering system, which is a very tough system… and, alas, probably about to get tougher to keep things under control.

“But, we will review it.”

He added: “And we have the prospect of vaccines coming down the track in their tens of millions.

“And that, I think, is something that should keep people going in what I predicted, back on your show in in October, will be a very bumpy period right now.

“It is bumpy and it’s going to be bumpy.”

The comments came as another national lockdown was called for by Liverpool’s council leaders to deal with a new strain of Covid-19 and prevent a “catastrophe”.

The city’s acting mayor, Councillor Wendy Simon, and the Labour-run city council’s cabinet said “urgent action” was required due to the rate of the rise in coronavirus infections.

“We need the government to listen to those at the frontline, both in our hospitals & key services. We as a nation can cope with a lockdown. We have before and we can again. The quicker we move into one now, the more lives will be saved and the quicker a recovery will be.”

— Liverpool City Council #LetsGetTested (@lpoolcouncil) January 3, 2021

The new strain of Covid-19 transmits faster and is most prevalent in London and the South East, where hospitals have become stretched.

And Professor Sir Mark Walport, who is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said it was “pretty clear” tougher restrictions were needed.

Asked if Tier 4 measures were enough, the former chief scientific adviser said: “It’s the Tier 4 restrictions, it’s obeying them.

“It is thinking about breaking essentially every possible route of transmission we possibly can.

“Those are the things that are absolutely necessary and it is pretty clear we’re going to need more.”