Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised MPs that England’s new lockdown restrictions will end on 2 December “whatever happens.”
The second national lockdown is due to remain in place for a period of four weeks, starting on Thursday 5 November, and will see a ban on household mixing indoors, a crackdown on travel, and several types of business forced to close.
‘Without a shred of doubt’
Mr Johnson insisted that a second lockdown was necessary after facing pressure from Conservative MPs and business chiefs about the strict new measures.
However, amid concerns that England’s lockdown could be extended beyond 2 December, the PM guaranteed “without a shred of doubt” that the restrictions would expire in four weeks' time, as planned.
Addressing MPs, he said, “The R (rate of infection) is above 1, but it is not much above 1.
“And if we work hard between now and 2 December I believe that we can get it below 1.
“But, whatever happens, these restrictions end on 2 December and any further measures will be a matter for this House of Commons.”
The PM said technological advances will help to defeat the virus by spring 2021, including increased testing.
A mass testing pilot is now being rolled out in Liverpool to test all residents and workers, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not. This could be extended nationwide, if successful.
What could happen after 2 December?
Mr Johnson has said that the government intends to return to a regional tiered system of restrictions on 2 December and stressed that the national measures are “time-limited”.
After the four week period comes to an end, the restrictions will automatically expire and a tiered system will be reinstated on a local and regional basis, according to the latest infection rate data.
The House of Commons will then “have a vote to agree the way forward.”
The Prime Minister explained that the tier areas will go into will depend on how effectively members of the public have followed the new instructions.