The PM was joined by Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Chris Whitty, who said that the number of cases has been going up rapidly in the last few days.
“We must act,” commented the PM following the remark by Whitty and added that the “Rule of 6” will come into effect in England on Monday.
He confirmed that if people from two households were to meet but their number exceeded 6, they would be breaking the law.
“I am sorry about that but as your PM I must do what is necessary to stop the virus and save lives,” Johnson said.
Covid-19 Secure Marshals
The government has also produced a statement confirming it will work with local authorities and police forces to "respond to breaches of COVID-19 Secure guidelines."
"We will launch a register of newly qualified and recently retired Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) so that Local Authorities can recruit more quickly and fill any gaps. In addition, we will introduce COVID-19 Secure Marshals to help local authorities support social distancing in towns and city centres," a statement said.
Hospitality and Events
Businesses will have to support NHS Test and Trace, and from 18 September, it will be mandatory for certain businesses to have a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data from their customers and keep this for 21 days. Core COVID-19 Secure requirements will be mandated for hospitality businesses, and egregious breaches enforced, according to Downing Street.
Plans to open concert venues will be reviewed by the government. Prime Minister also said the passenger locator form required to travel to the UK would be simplified.
In terms of mass testing, the PM said he would like to have widespread testing across the country by spring 2021 to allow people "to lead more normal lives". He called the effort to achieve the goal as a "moonshot".
"Our plan, this moonshot that I'm describing, will require a giant collaborative effort from government, from business, from public health professionals, scientists, logistic experts and many, many more. Work is under way now and we will get on at pace until we get there, round the clock. We're hopeful this approach will be widespread by the spring," Johnson said.
The PM was also joined by the chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, who spoke about the progress in developing a vaccine against coronavirus and the success of clinical trials. He said it was wrong to approve a vaccine on hope, “you have to do it on evidence,” he added.
On Wednesday, it was reported that the third round of trials for the AstraZeneca anti-coronavirus vaccine has been paused due to a "potentially unexplained illness" in a participant from the UK.
The 6 people limit will not apply to households or bubbles of more than six of gatherings for work. Groups larger than 6 people will be banned from gathering, except for pubs and restaurants, as long as customers maintain social distancing. Schools, workplaces or Covid-secure weddings, funerals and organised team sports will also be exempt. Those who don’t adhere to the new government guideline will face a £100 fine, doubling on each offence up to a maximum of £3,200.
"I wish that we did not have to take this step, but as your prime minister, I must do what is necessary to stop the spread of the virus and to save lives. I will be absolutely clear. This is not, these measures are not, another national lockdown. The whole point is to avoid a second national lockdown," Johnson said.
During the Q&A, following his statement, Johnson said that he was “hopeful that we could be able to get some normality by Christmas.”