Tough new coronavirus restrictions could be in place for up to six months, Boris Johnson says
"Unless we palpably make progress, we should assume the restrictions I have announced will remain in place for perhaps six months"
Boris Johnson announced new coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday afternoon which he says could be in place for up to six months.
The prime minister's statement followed a stark warning by chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance on Monday that the United Kingdom could see 50,000 new Covid-19 cases per day by the middle of October without urgent action.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Johnson warned that we have reached a "perilous turning point" in relation to Covid-19 as he announced harsher restrictions in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.
Under the new restrictions, people face fines of up to £10,000 for failing to isolate, as well as business who break rules. £200 fines will be handed to people who break the Rule of Six and fail to wear a mask in locations where it is mandatory.
Denying that the new restrictions are a portent of another lockdown, Johnson insisted that the government reserve the right implement harsher measures should cases continue to rise.
"If all these actions fail we reserve the right to use greater fire power with significantly greater restrictions," he said.
"I fervently want to avoid taking this step but we will only be able to avoid it if our new measures work and our behaviour changes."
Johnson also warned those who believe that they have so far avoided contracting the virus to behave sensibly and remain vigilant.
He said it is "tempting to hope the threat has faded and seek comfort in the belief you have avoided the virus so far so are somehow immune. But that type of complacency could be our undoing."
Introducing the measures, in which he urged people to work from home where possible, Johnson made no mention of the furlough scheme, which is due to end on October 31.