PM cannot say whether families will be able to celebrate Christmas together

The Prime Minister was unable to say whether families will be able to celebrate Christmas together this year, as the Government's top medic predicted a "difficult" few months ahead over winter.

At a press conference officially announcing that social gatherings of more than six people will be illegal in England from Monday, Boris Johnson said it "breaks his heart" to have to impose restrictions on families.

When asked at the first Downing Street briefing since July whether Christmas was effectively cancelled, Mr Johnson told reporters it was "too early to say" whether big parties could be held over the festive season.

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Coronavirus impacts Britain
A pedestrian wearing a face mask due to the COVID-19 pandemic, walks past a Christmas-themed advert inside St Pancras International train statin in central London, on November 23, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said the "escape route" from the coronavirus was in sight as he announced that tough restrictions in England would not be extended beyond December 2. "The breakthroughs in treatment, in testing vaccines mean that the scientific cavalry is now in sight," he told parliament. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
A pedestrian wearing a face mask due to the COVID-19 pandemic, walks past Christmas-themed window displays inside Burlington Arcade in central London, on November 23, 2020. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson's latest plan is to roll out mass testing to the hardest-hit areas, hoping to make enough inroads to be able to relax social restrictions in time for Christmas. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
People walk past the 'Terrarium Tree' in Coal Drops Yard, which forms part of the King's Cross neighbourhood of London's unconventional 'traditionally untraditional' Christmas tree installations, during England's second coronavirus lockdown, Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. Haircuts, shopping trips and visits to the pub will be back on the agenda for millions of people when a four-week lockdown in England comes to an end next week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
A woman wearing a protective face covering to combat the spread of the coronavirus, walks pas a shop advertising a closing-down sale in central London, on November 22, 2020, as the four-week national shutdown imposed in England continues, forcing people to stay home and businesses to close owing to a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will confirm that coronavirus lockdown restrictions across England are to end on December 2, his office said Saturday. The lockdown will be followed by a return to a three-tiered set of regional restrictions as part of the government's "COVID Winter Plan", it added in a statement. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
A man wearing a protective face covering to combat the spread of the coronavirus, takes a picture of a Christmas tree in Covent Garden in central London, on November 22, 2020, as the four-week national shutdown imposed in England continues, forcing people to stay home and businesses to close owing to a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will confirm that coronavirus lockdown restrictions across England are to end on December 2, his office said Saturday. The lockdown will be followed by a return to a three-tiered set of regional restrictions as part of the government's "COVID Winter Plan", it added in a statement. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Pedestrians wearing face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, walk past Christmas-themed window displays inside Burlington Arcade in central London, on November 23, 2020. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson's latest plan is to roll out mass testing to the hardest-hit areas, hoping to make enough inroads to be able to relax social restrictions in time for Christmas. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
A woman wearing a mask because of the coronavirus pandemic walks past masks displayed on mannequins in the window of a closed shop in Canterbury, southern England on November 23, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was to announce on Monday a major testing programme in areas with the highest coronavirus infection rates as the country re-enters a system of tiered restrictions. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
General view of a largely empty Oxford Circus, in London, as most shops and businesses remain closed whilst England continues a four week national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
A man holding a cross and a Bible preaches about Christianity to passers-by, backdropped by the Royal Exchange, bottom right, and the Bank of England, bottom second left, during England's second coronavirus lockdown in the City of London financial district of London, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. Britain yesterday posted 598 COVID-19 deaths of people testing posting for the virus in the last 28 days, the highest daily death toll since May. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
People wearing face coverings outside a Christmas Shop in Stirling, Scotland, Friday Nov. 20, 2020. This shop will close later Friday along with other non-essential shops, bars, restaurants, hairdressers and visitor attractions whilst schools remain open, due to the latest government restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus. (Andrew Milligan/PA via AP)
A pedestrian walks past Christmas shop decorations in Mayfair during a second lockdown in London, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. Businesses that have been forced to shut are hoping they will be able to reopen to salvage something of the crucial holiday shopping season. The government has been reluctant to say what restrictions will be in place for any particular area when the lockdown ends and says it's still too early to see how the lockdown has worked. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Christmas lights in central London, as England continues a four week national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images)
A poster is put on a shop door as it closes in Glasgow as new restrictions come into place. Eleven local council areas in Scotland will move into Level 4 restrictions from 6pm on Friday to slow the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
A doorman watches as the shutters come down at the Argyll Arcade in Glasgow as new restrictions come into place. Eleven local council areas in Scotland will move into Level 4 restrictions from 6pm on Friday to slow the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 20: A worker closes Princess Squareas the level four rule comes into force at 18:00 in 11 council areas on November 20, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. More than two million people in the West of Scotland are preparing to move to the country's toughest level of coronavirus restrictions seeing the closure of shops, restaurants, pubs, hairdressers, gyms and all visitor attractions (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
The bronze statues of John and Cecil Moores, founders of the Littlewoods company, in Liverpool, who have had face masks put on them as England continues a four week national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
A woman wearing a face mask passes Christmas lights outside shops on Oxford Street, London, as England continues a four week national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images)
David Lewis, centre, husband to Gladys and father to Darren and Dean Lewis, is helped out of church by mourners during the funeral of Gladys, Dean and Darren Lewis at St Peter's Church in Pentre, South Wales. Mrs Lewis and her two sons all died of Covid-19 within five days of each other. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER - 19: Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire and their supporters protest outside of the inquiry which they are unable to attend due to emergency COVID legislation on November 19, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19: A woman wearing a facemask is seen on the top deck of a bus as graffiti reading "HOAX" is seen above a busy road on November 19, 2020 in north London, England. With the announcement of successful trials of vaccines to the COVID-19 virus, the government is still facing a challenge to convince some members of the public that the threat to life is real, with small numbers doubting the existence of the virus, while others question whether the restrictions have been justified. Without a large majority of the public taking part in any vaccination programme, the effectiveness of any herd immunity may be compromised. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
A face mask on the Ancestor statue at Solstice Park in Amesbury, Wiltshire as England continues a four week national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Members of the public on Buchanan Street in Glasgow. Parts of the west of Scotland could move into Level 4 restrictions later this week, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to announce her decision later today. Under the toughest restrictions, non-essential shops will be closed, along with bars, restaurants, hairdressers and visitor attractions, whilst schools remain open (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
A member of the public walks passed a closed Christmas shop in Glasgow. Eleven local council areas in Scotland will move into Level 4 restrictions from 6pm on Friday to slow the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
Vegetation grows between unused black cabs parked in a large area of farmland in Epping Forest, which is being rented by GB Taxi Services to store their large fleet of London taxis that are no longer being used due to a severe drop in demand as coronavirus restrictions continue to reduce travel and office working. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
A woman wearing a face mask passes a Christmas window display on Oxford Street, London, as England continues a four week national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
General view of a closed shops on an empty New Bond Street, in London, as England continues a four week national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
A woman wearing a face mask passes Christmas trees in Covent Garden, London, as England continues a four week national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
BRADFORD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 16: A general taken from a drone of graves at the Scholemoor Cemetery and Crematorium on November 16, 2020 in Bradford, England. In an essay for the BBC this weekend, Dr John Wright of Bradford Royal Infirmary reported how Bradford's main Muslim cemetery has been struggling to keep up with burials amid the country's second wave of covid-19 infections. However he cautioned that "it will take some medical detective work to determine the cause of this increase in deaths." (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace during a visit to the covid testing centre at Liverpool Exhibition Centre. The city is undertaking a mass coronavirus testing pilot, with residents having access to lateral flow tests that are able to determine if someone has coronavirus in under an hour. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 14: A woman without a face mask shouts and gestures towards police officers during an anti lockdown protest on November 14, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been recurring protests across England against lockdown restrictions and other rules meant to curb the spread of the virus. Police in Liverpool have warned protesters that they will take action against protesters, who could face possible fines. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
Police officers speak to protester Paul Boys (R) as they attempt to disperse an anti-vax rally and protest against vaccination and government restrictions designed to control or mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, including the wearing of masks and lockdowns, in Liverpool, north-west England on November 14, 2020. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 14: A woman shows-off a head tattoo during an anti lockdown protest on November 14, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been recurring protests across England against lockdown restrictions and other rules meant to curb the spread of the virus. Police in Liverpool have warned protesters that they will take action against protesters, who could face possible fines. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 14: A man bangs a saucepan in support during an anti lockdown protest on November 14, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been recurring protests across England against lockdown restrictions and other rules meant to curb the spread of the virus. Police in Liverpool have warned protesters that they will take action against protesters, who could face possible fines. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 14: Demonstrators not wearing face masks march through the city centre during an anti lockdown protest on November 14, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been recurring protests across England against lockdown restrictions and other rules meant to curb the spread of the virus. Police in Liverpool have warned protesters that they will take action against protesters, who could face possible fines. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 13: Activist hold a demonstration marking the delayed COP26 UN climate negotiations on November 13, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. The 26th United Nations Climate Change conference would have taken place this month, but was delayed for a year due to the covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 13: Activist hold a demonstration marking the delayed COP26 UN climate negotiations on November 13, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. The 26th United Nations Climate Change conference would have taken place this month, but was delayed for a year due to the covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
HULL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: A couple wearing face masks walk through Hull city centre on November 13, 2020 in Hull, England. Hull recorded 726.8 new cases per 100,000 people in the week to November 7, nearly triple the national rate for England (about 250) that same week. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
A nurse administers a test on Sarah Key at Dimensions Leisure Centre in Stoke-on-Trent during a testing session held by Stoke-on-Trent City Council using the newly-supplied lateral flow Covid-19 tests. (Photo by Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 12: A woman waits at a bus stop as a Covid-19 warning sign asks pedestrians to keep left on November 12, 2020 in Liverpool, England. More than 42,000 people had been tested for covid-19 in the city's mass testing trial. In that time, all residents and workers in the city are being offered the test and has now been extended to schools. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - NOVEMBER 12: Northern Ireland fans look on from the stands during the UEFA EURO 2020 Play-Off Final between Northern Ireland and Slovakia at Windsor Park on November 12, 2020 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland are allowing a limited number of spectators 1060 to be in attendance as Covid-19 pandemic restrictions are eased. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
LONDON - NOVEMBER 12: Signs display social distancing measures in a mens toilet on November 12, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wearing a protective face covering to combat the spread of the coronavirus covid-19 arrives for the First Minister's Questions session at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh on November 12, 2020. (Photo by Jane Barlow / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JANE BARLOW/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson loads produce into baskets during a visit to a tesco.com distribution centre in London, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, pool)
EDINBURGH - NOVEMBER 11: Members of the public walk past a window display at Harvey Nichols on November 11, 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Retailers have warned of a retail and hospitality Christmas trade catastrophe, due to the Coronavirus restrictions which are jeopardising hundreds of jobs. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson loads a delivery van with a basket of shopping during a visit to a tesco.com distribution centre in London, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, pool)
Britain's Camilla Duchess of Cornwall leaves after attending the Armistice Day service at Westminster Abbey in London, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. The specially arranged service, with social distancing because of the coronavirus, commemorates the 102nd anniversary of the armistice ending World War I, and one hundred years since the symbolic interment of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey. (Aaron Chown/Pool via AP)
A man walks across the normally busy Piccadilly Circus in central London after a heavy rain downpour, Monday Nov. 9, 2020. The London streets are nearly deserted during the first full week of a four-week coronavirus lockdown in England, but some are calling to allow businesses to reopen their doors to kickstart the city economy. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)
A man crosses a quiet street filled with Christmas lights in central London, Monday November 9, 2020. Wet weather has drenched the London streets during the first full week of a four-week coronavirus lockdown in England, as some are calling to allow businesses to open their doors to kickstart the city economy. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson returns to Downing Street, London, following a Cabinet meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
Shoppers in Cardiff, Wales, Monday Nov. 9, 2020, after restrictions imposed by the Welsh government are relaxed following a two-week lockdown across Wales. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II inspects a bouquet of flowers to be placed at the grave of the Unknown Warrior by her Equerry, Lieutenant Colonel Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, in Westminster Abbey, London, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. Queen Elizabeth II donned a face mask in public for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic when attending a brief ceremony at Westminster Abbey last week to mark the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior. While the 94-year-old has been seen in public on several occasions over the past few months, she has not worn a face covering. (Aaron Chown/Pool Photo via AP)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II attends a ceremony to mark the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior, in Westminster Abbey, London, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. Queen Elizabeth II donned a face mask in public for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic when attending a brief ceremony at Westminster Abbey last week to mark the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior. While the 94-year-old has been seen in public on several occasions over the past few months, she has not worn a face covering. (Aaron Chown/Pool Photo via AP)
People cycle in Green Park in central London on November 8, 2020 during a second national lockdown designed to contain soaring infections of the novel coronavirus. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: The Royal Family, politicians and dignitaries attend the National Service Of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Westminster, amid the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) disease on November 8, 2020 in London, England. Remembrance Sunday services are still able to go ahead despite the covid-19 measures in place across the various nations of the UK. Each country has issued guidelines to ensure the safety of those taking part. (Photo by Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes a coronavirus swab test at a testing centre in De Montfort University, Leicester, England, Friday Nov. 6, 2020. Johnson visited the Leicester test centre Friday after a new national lockdown and the beginning of a pilot project launched in nearby Liverpool for possible weekly testing of the entire city population. (Molly Darlington/Pool via AP)
Carnaby Street in Soho, London, on the third day of a four week national lockdown for England to combat the spread of Covid-19. (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)
A woman is detained by police from 'The Million Mask March', an annual event described as a march "against austerity, the infringement of rights, war crimes, corrupt politicians and to reinstate liberty", gather in Trafalgar Square in central London, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. The march was taking place on the same day national lockdown rules come into force as Britain joined large swathes of Europe in a coronavirus lockdown designed to save its health care system from being overwhelmed. Pubs, along with restaurants, hairdressers and shops selling non-essential items closed on Thursday until at least Dec. 2. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Police officers wearing face masks against the coronavirus patrol 'The Million Mask March', an annual event described as a march "against austerity, the infringement of rights, war crimes, corrupt politicians and to reinstate liberty", in central London, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.The march was taking place on the same day national lockdown rules come into force as Britain joined large swathes of Europe in a coronavirus lockdown designed to save its health care system from being overwhelmed. Pubs, along with restaurants, hairdressers and shops selling non-essential items closed on Thursday until at least Dec. 2. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A man stopped in front of an advertising of a closed shop in London, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. Britain's lockdown started Thursday, shuttering restaurants, hairdressers and clothing stores until at least Dec. 2. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
NHS staff and soldiers prepare the mass COVID-19 testing at the Liverpool Tennis Centre, Liverpool, England, Friday Nov. 6, 2020. Britain's lockdown started Thursday, shuttering restaurants, hairdressers and clothing stores until at least Dec. 2. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)
Members of the public queue at the opening of the mass and rapid testing centre for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 at a Tennis centre in Liverpool on November 6, 2020. - To avoid extending the lockdown, Johnson is pinning his hopes on an ambitious new programme of Covid testing to detect and isolate infected people, starting with a city-wide trial launching in Liverpool today. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
A worker wearing a face masks or coverings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, gives a customer a wet shave inside a barber's shop in central Manchester, north west England on November 4, 2020, as the country prepares for a second Covid-19 lockdown in an effort to combat soaring infections. - England heads into a second national lockdown on November 5. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
People queue outside Selfridges in Oxford Street, London, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, as Britain prepares to join large swathes of Europe in a coronavirus lockdown designed to save its health care system from being overwhelmed. Pubs, along with restaurants, hairdressers and shops selling non-essential items will have to close Thursday until at least Dec. 2. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Royal Navy ratings march, as they take part in a training exercise at HMS Excellent, as they rehearse the Royal Navy's contribution to Remembrance activities ahead of Armistice Day, on Whale Island, Portsmouth, England, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)
Harriet Henry, manager of The Tea Room in Knutsford, hangs a closed sign outside her cafe, ahead of a national lockdown for England from Thursday. (Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)
Workers install a festive Christmas-themed window display in a Harvey Nichols store in central Manchester, north west England on November 4, 2020, as the country prepares for a second Covid-19 lockdown in an effort to combat soaring infections. - England heads into a second national lockdown on November 5. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
As the UK reacts to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement of Lockdown 2 during the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, crowds of shoppers walk beneath Oxford Street's new Chistmas lights, on 2nd November 2020, in London, England. From midnight on Thursday, all non-essential shops, bars, restaurants and other small businesses will have to closed, according to government Covid restrictions - and for a minimum of 4 weeks in the run-up to Christmas. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Face mask seller as Londoners from the mainly Bangladeshi Asian community await the second coronavirus national lockdown it's business as usual at Whitechapel Market with people out and about, some wearing face masks and some not, on what will be the last few days of normality before a month-long total lockdown in the UK on 2nd November 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The three tier system in the UK has not worked sufficiently, to suppress the virus, and there have have been calls by politicians for a 'circuit breaker' complete lockdown to be announced to help the growing spread of the Covid-19. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)
As Londoners await the second coronavirus national lockdown people out and about, some wearing face masks and some not, pass advice boards in Hackney before a month-long total lockdown in the UK on 2nd November 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The three tier system in the UK has not worked sufficiently, to suppress the virus, and there have have been calls by politicians for a 'circuit breaker' complete lockdown to be announced to help the growing spread of the Covid-19. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Women wait at a bus stop in Leicester with their shopping, ahead of a national lockdown for England from Thursday.. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)
A street vendor wearing a skull mask in Birmingham, ahead of a national lockdown for England from Thursday. (Photo by Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images)
ST CLEARS, WALES - NOVEMBER 02: Welsh police pull over motorists at a police checkpoint on the A477 between Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire during Wales' 'firebreak' lockdown period on November 2, 2020, in St Clears, Wales. Wales entered a national lockdown on October 23 which will remain in place until November 9. Under the 'firebreak' rules, people have been told to stay at home and pubs, restaurants, hotels and non-essential shops must shut. Gatherings indoors and outdoors with people not in your household are banned. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
People walking past a Christmas tree outside a store on Oxford Street, central London before the new national lockdown comes into force in England next week. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
An electronic billboard displays government messages about the coronavirus pandemic in a shopping centre in Leeds, northern England, on November 1, 2020 as England prepares to enter into a second lockdown in an effort to stem soaring infections. - A new four-week coronavirus lockdown in England will be extended if it fails to reduce infection rates, the government said Sunday, as it faced criticism over the abrupt decision to shut down again. The second national lockdown, hastily announced late Saturday following warnings hospitals could become overwhelmed within weeks, is set to come into force from Thursday and end on December 2. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Shoppers outside Selfridges as Londoners await the imminent second coronavirus lockdown it's business as usual in the West End with large numbers of people, some wearing face masks and some not, coming to Oxford Street to go shopping on what will be the last weekend before a month-long total lockdown in the UK on 1st November 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The three tier system in the UK has not worked sufficiently, to suppress the virus, and there have have been calls by politicians for a 'circuit breaker' complete lockdown to be announced to help the growing spread of the Covid-19. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: Referee Graham Scott watches the VAR screen as he reviews an incident during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton & Hove Albion at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on November 1, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)
A man wearing a face mask walks by the Tees Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough. The Tees Valley and the West Midlands are expected to be moved up to Tier 3 shortly. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: A passenger on the tube in central London on October 29, 2020. The coronavirus pandemic has reached a âcritical stageâ in England with 96,000 new infections in a single day and infections doubling every nine days, according to the Imperial College London (ICL) on Thursday. Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that 16 more areas in England will move into Tier 2 restrictions, the second highest level, beginning Saturday. (Photo by Kate Green/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: A woman walks past a sign at the University College Hospital in central London on October 29, 2020. The coronavirus pandemic has reached a âcritical stageâ in England with 96,000 new infections in a single day and infections doubling every nine days, according to the Imperial College London (ICL) on Thursday. Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that 16 more areas in England will move into Tier 2 restrictions, the second highest level, beginning Saturday. (Photo by Kate Green/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Shoppers walk past a NHS sign urging people to check for novel coronavirus COVID-19 symptons, at the Trinity shopping centre in Leeds, Yorkshire on October 30, 2020. - West Yorkshire is to be placed under tier three Covid restrictions from November 2, 2020, the strictest level of rules. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 28: Musicians, who had financial difficulties due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic restrictions, gather at Parliament Square during a demonstration within the event named "Survival in the Square" for demanding support from the government, on October 28, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
General view of Hamilton, Lanarkshire, which could be placed into Level 4 in a new five-tier system of coronavirus restrictions for Scotland. In Level 4, both indoor and outdoor hospitality businesses would close Ð including cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
A man walks past a shop with Halloween decorations in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, as the area could be placed into Level 4 in a new five-tier system of coronavirus restrictions for Scotland. In Level 4, both indoor and outdoor hospitality businesses would close Ð including cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
WARRINGTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 27: A home in Warrington is decorated for Halloween with face masks and synthetic cobwebs as the borough enters Covid-19 Tier 3 'Very High' lockdown restrictions on October 27, 2020 in Warrington, England. Public Health England data over the last seven days showed 830 new positive cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) forcing the town into Tier 3 restrictions. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, wearing an EU flag-themed facemask due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, leaves a hotel in London on October 27, 2020 to attend the latest round of Brexit trade talks with the UK. - Britain and the European Union launched an all-out round of Brexit talks vowing to work round the clock to seal a trade deal in the slender time left. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Rain falls in Nottingham ahead of the region being moved into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions on Thursday. The very high level of restrictions includes a ban on social mixing both indoors and in private gardens, pubs and bars closing unless they can operate as a restaurant, and residents are advised against overnight stays in other parts of the UK and they should avoid travel where possible in and out of the area, unless it is for work, education or caring responsibilities. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)
A woman carrying an umbrella in Nottingham ahead of the region being moved into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions on Thursday. The very high level of restrictions includes a ban on social mixing both indoors and in private gardens, pubs and bars closing unless they can operate as a restaurant, and residents are advised against overnight stays in other parts of the UK and they should avoid travel where possible in and out of the area, unless it is for work, education or caring responsibilities. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)
WARRINGTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 27: People wear face masks in Warrington town centre as the borough enters Covid-19 Tier 3 'Very High' lockdown restrictions on October 27, 2020 in Warrington, England. Public Health England data over the last seven days showed 830 new positive cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) forcing the town into Tier 3 restrictions. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
WREXHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/10/25: A view of a deserted street on the first Sunday of Wales' national lockdown. (Photo by Andrew McCoy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, Oct. 25, 2020 -- People walk on top of Parliament Hill in north London, Britain, on Oct. 25, 2020. Another 19,790 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 873,800, according to official figures released Sunday. The coronavirus-related deaths in Britain rose by 151 to 44,896, the data showed. (Photo by Han Yan/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Han Yan via Getty Images)
Police detain a man, during a coronavirus anti-lockdown protest on Westminster Bridge, in London, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
An elderly demonstrator waving a Union Jack flag marches through Leicester Square. Unite for Freedom movement - the Anti lockdown, anti vaccine, anti government and anti masks protesters, march from Hyde Park to Westminster for their 'We Have The Power' rally. Protesting against the new government measures to combat Covid-19. (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A view of a quiet street in Cardiff, Wales, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. The Welsh government have imposed one of the U.K.’s strictest lockdowns, including a ban on non-essential travel. Under rules that took effect Friday evening, Wales also closed most businesses and restricted high schools to online instruction. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)
BLACKWOOD, WALES - OCTOBER 24: A general view of a supermarket which has used mannequins and advertisements to cordon off non essential goods which are restricted from sale under the Welsh firebreak lockdown restrictions on October 24, 2020 in Blackwood, Wales. (Photo by Huw Fairclough/Getty Images)
People wearing masks because of the coronavirus pandemic are seen in the centre of Cardiff on October 23, 2020, hours before Wales goes into a two-week lockdown. - Millions more people headed into coronavirus lockdowns in Britain on Friday, as the government boosted a jobs support package but acknowledged failures in a hugely expensive testing programme. The devolved government in Wales ordered its 3.1 million people to stay at home from 6:00 pm (1700 GMT), closing non-food retailers, cafes, restaurants, pubs and hotels for two weeks. (Photo by Geoff Caddick / AFP) (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images)
Two pedestrians walk over a sign painted on the street to advise people to social distance due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in Soho London, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Workers close up a restaurant in central Cardiff, Friday Oct. 23, 2020, as a two-week “firebreak” lockdown starts Friday and will shutter all non-essential shops and ban most trips outside home. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)
People out and about in Old Compton Street in London, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
MANCHESTER, Oct. 23, 2020 -- A woman walks across a footbridge in the city center of Manchester, Britain, on Oct. 23, 2020. Another 20,530 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 830,998, according to official figures released Friday. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday said that Greater Manchester will move into Tier Three, the highest level of COVID-19 restrictions, from midnight on Thursday. (Photo by Jon Super/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Jon Super via Getty Images)
A general view of the City of London from the south bank of the River Thames in London, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
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He added: "The thing we need now is for everybody to work together to enforce the rule of six and get the current spike down."

The new rules are an attempt to reduce social contact amid a rise in Covid-19 cases across the UK, with a particular peak in infections among young people.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Mr Johnson said the Government had been forced to act because "with the best will in the world people have not, I'm afraid, been totally following the guidelines", he said.

The rules were backed by chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, who said the period between now and spring will be "difficult" as people meet more indoors over the colder months.

Prof Whitty told reporters: "Everybody I think in the country will know, and it has been widely reported that the period over autumn and winter, which is the period when all respiratory viruses have an advantage because people crowd together, more things are done indoors amongst other reasons, it is going to be difficult.

"So the period between now and spring is going to be difficult because this is a respiratory virus.

"I think in terms of the existing restrictions, people should see this as the next block of time that may not last for many months, but it is very unlikely to be over in just two or three weeks."

Coronavirus - Wed Sep 9, 2020
Chief medical officer Professor Chris Witty (left) and Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a virtual press conference at Downing Street, London (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Despite the new restrictions the Prime Minister struck an optimistic tone saying he is "still hopeful" that "we could be able to get some aspects of our lives back to normal by Christmas".

He pointed to the new "moonshot" approach of mass testing, which could enable theatres and sports venues to test audience members on the day and allow in all those testing negative, as well as enable workplaces to operate more normally.

Mr Johnson said: "In future, in the near future, we want to start using testing to identify people who are negative – who don't have coronavirus and who are not infectious – so we can allow them to behave in a more normal way, in the knowledge they cannot infect anyone else with the virus."

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