PM Boris Johnson held a COVID press conference this afternoon, ahead of Lockdown 3.0 restrictions being set in law tomorrow.

Joining PM Boris Johnson at the podium were Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance.

Johnson stated that there have been over 60,000 new cases of the virus today. He has however, said that 1.1 million individuals have received the vaccine in England, and a total of 1.3 million have received it across the U.K.

He also reiterated the four main groups who are being given vaccine priority are:

  1. Care home residents and staff
  2. Everyone over 70
  3. Frontline healthcare staff
  4. All those clinically extremely vulnerable.

The Prime Minister also announced that over 1,000 vaccination sites will be up and running by the end of this week. Seven vaccination centres will be set up in sports stadiums and conference centres. Finally, the promise of giving daily vaccination updates may be seen a glimmer of hope for the nation.

Professor Chris Whitty has said that the case rate has increased to 70%, with roughly 1 in 50 people in England testing positive. Prof Whitty has also said that hospital admissions are increasing.

One question asked was about mental health services for those struggling with lockdown. The PM responded that £12 billion has been put into NHS mental health services, and that the Government are working with mental health charities to provide support.

Another issue was raised about the accommodation costs and tuition fees students are paying. Johnson assured members of the public currently in education that the Government are working on this issue. Regarding school children learning from home, the BBC will be working with the Government to provide suitable learning activities to complete remotely.

The panel finally expressed that the vaccination timetable is realistic to achieve but not easy. They do hope to see a decline in deaths from those vaccinated however. The PM also stated more will be done to test those coming into the U.K.

Regarding the extended time frame between the first and second dose of the vaccine, Prof Whitty defended the extension between doses, which apparently will allow more people to get the dose. They will catch up with the second dose in Spring. There are no plans currently to get children vaccinated at the moment.

The panel’s final message was somewhat hopeful. If we stick to the rules of this lockdown, whilst vaccines are being given out, things will be more promising by Spring. There is also the hope that lockdown measures will begin easing by mid February.

If you are finding the news and reality of the third lockdown troubling, please not hesitate to reach out to any of the charities below.