PM says nation will ‘defeat this virus by the spring’ in address to anxious MPs

Boris Johnson has said technological advances will “defeat this virus by the spring” as he tries to ward off a growing Tory rebellion over the second national lockdown for England.

The Prime Minister promised MPs a fresh vote on the next stage of measures to combat coronavirus when “we intend to return” to a regional tiered system on December 2.

And he announced greater support for the self-employed after extending the furlough scheme for employees as pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops are ordered to close.

But a growing number of senior MPs on the Conservative backbenches have said they will oppose the new lockdown during a vote on Wednesday.

HEALTH Coronavirus Numbers
(PA Graphics)

Mr Johnson hailed advances in medicine including “virtually instant” Covid-19 tests and said there is a “real prospect” of a vaccine in the first quarter of next year.

“I believe that these technical developments, taken together, will enable us to defeat this virus by the spring as humanity has defeated every other infectious disease,” he said.

He insisted that the national lockdown, if approved by MPs, will automatically expire next month and said that the Commons “will have a vote to agree the way forward”.

And the Prime Minister warned that “without action” there could be twice as many deaths over the winter as in the first wave, meaning there is “no alternative” but another national lockdown.

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