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Pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be forced to close by 10pm from Thursday, Boris Johnson will announce tomorrow as he reveals a raft of new measures to try and combat the rocketing number of coronavirus cases.
The PM will address the nation at 8pm tomorrow night to outline his plans to tackle the spiralling numbers of confirmed Covid-19 patients.
As well as the curfew, the hospitality sector will be restricted by law to table service only.
Alarming figures show the rate of coronavirus in the UK is doubling every seven days – meaning there could be 50,000 new cases a day by October 13.
But even stricter new measures are looming on the horizon unless Britain gains the upper hand over the killer bug.
Fears are growing that families could be forced apart at Christmas if the situation is not brought under control.
Pubs are also in the last chance saloon. If the 10pm curfew flops then the PM is expected to threaten landlords who break the new rules with closure.
Johnson could also enforce tight new "circuit breaker" lockdowns to try beat the bug.
If the Rule of Six does not prove effective in the coming days then the PM could announce a ban on mixing with people from outside the household or support bubble.
However, working parents were given some slight relief after Health Secretary Matt Hancock scrapped the former ban on relatives helping out with childcare duties.
But many were baffled by the new rules including Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan who tweeted: "What possible difference is that going to make? Does he think Covid respects opening hours?"
Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin also hit out at the measures. He said: "We've only just finished Eat Out To Help Out. The public has become confused. I really think this deserves a proper debate in parliament."
Alarming map shows areas of England with fastest-growing rates of coronavirus
That was despite a large outbreak of coronavirus among staff at one of his Liverpool city centre pubs after 12 staff tested positive.
Johnson will chair meetings of Cabinet and the Cobra emergency committee tomorrow as he tries to regain control of the situation.
Leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will attend the crisis talks ahead of the live televised address.
The besieged PM is expected to set out further ways the country can battle the deadly disease on all fronts.
It comes after the UK's four chief medical officers recommended raising the Covid alert level from three to four – the second-highest – indicating the "epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially".
Earlier today, Sir Patrick Vallance – the chief scientific adviser – said the UK could see 50,000 Covid-19 cases a day by mid-October and a daily death toll of 200 or more a month later unless urgent action is taken.
A Number 10 spokesperson said: "No-one underestimates the challenges the new measures will pose to many individuals and businesses. We know this won't be easy, but we must take further action to control the resurgence in cases of the virus and protect the NHS."
- Boris Johnson
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