BORIS Johnson has announced a number of changes to the government's coronavirus advice.

Speaking at a Downing Street press briefing, the Prime Minister updated the public on the latest information available, and how that will affect the current lockdown measures.

For the last three weeks, the number of new cases reported each day across the UK has been under 1,000.

Each new measure announced is dependent on the continued management of the virus, with new covid-19 cases and deaths remaining low.

Local lockdowns

New powers will be given to local authorities from tomorrow to enforce measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Councils will be able to close specific premises, shut public outdoor spaces such as parks, and cancel events.

Mr Johnson said: “At the start of the pandemic, we knew far less about the spread of the virus and we had to take blanket national measures.

“National lockdown was undoubtedly the right thing to do and has saved many thousands of lives.

“Now, however, we know more about the virus, we understand the epidemiology better and our intelligence about where it is spreading is vastly improved.

“That means we can control it through targeted local action instead.”

Next week, the government will publish draft regulations on how central government can intervene at a local level.

Ministers will be able to, where justified, close whole sectors or types of premises, introduce local stay-at-home orders, or prevent people from leaving or entering specific areas.

They will also be able to limit the number of people who can gather at once, and restrict transport available in specific areas.


Local lockdown measures can only be effective if a proper testing regime is in place.

Testing sites have already been set up across the country, with 200 mobile sites ready to be deployed wherever they're needed.

As it stands, anyone in the UK with symptoms can, and should, be tested as soon as possible, and the government are testing more people who do not have symptoms, but are at a higher risk of serious illness from the virus.

Mr Johnson said: “This local approach relies on having an effective testing regime in place. And, here, we have made substantial progress.

“As we approach winter we will need to go further, not least as many more people will show Covid-like symptoms as a result of seasonal illnesses and therefore require a test.”

Antigen test capacity, the test which tells you if you currently have the virus, has risen 100 times over since the start of March – from fewer than 2,000 tests a day to more than 200,000 tests a day now.”

By the end of October, testing capacity will be upped to 500,000 a day, offering up to 3.5m each week.

NHS Funding

In addition to the extra testing capacity, Mr Johnson acknowledged that the NHS would need more support to prepare for a possible second wave of infections.

As he confirmed an extra £3b in funding for the NHS in England, the Prime Minister pledged to keep the Nightingale hospitals in operation until the end of March.

He said: “Demand for testing is not the only challenge that winter will bring. It’s possible that the virus will be more virulent in the winter months and it’s certain that the NHS will face the usual annual winter pressures.

“We’re making sure we’re ready for winter and planning for the worst.

"But even as we plan for the worst I strongly believe we should hope for the best.

“That means looking ahead with optimism, now extending our plan to lift the remaining national measures, which have restricted our lives since March, so we can get back to something closer to normal life.”

So far, the government has massively increased ventilator capacity across the nation, upping the number of ventilators from 9,000 pre-pandemic to almost 30,000 now.

Over 30b items of PPE have been handed out across the country, and the healthcare sector is preparing to launch the biggest ever flu vaccination programme in the history of the UK.

Lockdown easing

Mr Johnson said he hoped for a “more significant return to normality by November”, as he announced further reopening of the economy.

From today, anyone may use public transport for any journey, although people are being urged to consider alternative methods where possible.

Indoor gyms, pools, and other sports facilities will reopen on July 25 with "most" remaining leisure settings reopening on August 1.

He said: “From August 1, we will reopen most remaining leisure settings, namely bowling, skating rings, casinos and we will enable close contact services, beauticians to resume.

“Nightclubs, soft play areas – sadly – need to remain closed for now, although this will be kept under review.

“We will restart indoor performances to a live audience, subject to the success of pilots, and we will also pilot larger gatherings in venues like sport stadia, with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn.

“We will also allow wedding receptions for up to 30 people.”

From October, audiences will begin to be welcomed back to stadiums, with conferences and other business events allowed to restart.

He added: “It is my strong and sincere hope that we will be able to review the outstanding restrictions and allow a more significant return to normality from November, at the earliest, possibly in time for Christmas.”

Working from home

From August 1, the government's advice on working from home will change.

Currently, all employees who can work from home are advised to do so, but in a fortnight, companies will be able to use their digression to decide whether to bring back their workers.

Last night, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said there was no need to change the work-from-home, if you can, advice.

The Prime Minister insisted that it should not be the government's decision on whether people worked from home.

He said: “I totally agree with Patrick Vallance on what he is saying.

“It is not for Government to decide how employers should run their companies and whether they want their work forces in the office or not – that is for companies.

“What we’re saying now is that if employers think it would be better and more productive for their employees to come into the office and they can work in a safe way, in a Covid-secure way in the office, then there should be discussions between employers and employees and people should take a decision.

“What we’re saying is we want to encourage people that if it is safe to come into work, provided employers have done the work they should have done to make their work places Covid-secure as so many business up and down the country have already done.

“That’s what we want to see from August 1.”