By Tony O’Riley-
Uk prime minister Boris Johnson is to chair an emergency COBRA meeting on Tuesday, in which he is expected to announce new measures which may see pubs and restaurants or operate on a highly restricted basis, closing at 10pm.
Under the new plans, pubs, bars and restaurants could be shut completely in virus hotspots. The new measures aimed at controlling the number of COVID-19 infections are designed to prevent a spread of the virus in an anticipated second wave.
Mr Johnson plans to discuss the coronavirus response with the first ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland later on Monday.
“One thing he will do is reiterate his commitment to working together with the devolved administrations as one United Kingdom in response to the rising infection rates that we’re seeing across the UK,” the PM’s spokesman said.
It comes after the government’s chief scientific adviser told a Downing Street briefing that the UK could soon see 49,000 new cases every day unless action is taken to drive down the current rate of infection.
Mr Johnson is believed to be considering temporary nationwide restrictions to try and “short-circuit” the virus. The restrictions are believed to be broad enough to stop just short of the full national lockdown introduced in March
Under the proposals, travel to schools and workplaces will continue, but restaurants and bars will be shut – or perhaps operating on restricted hours – with different households told not to mix at all.
Mr Johnson and senior ministers were briefed by England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief economic adviser at the Treasury Clare Lombardelli at the weekend.
“The PM has been engaged with the cabinet throughout this process. The cabinet received a detailed briefing from the government’s chief medical, scientific and economic advisers over the course of the weekend,” his spokesman said.