The timing of the briefing has now ben pushed back twice, first to 5pm and then by an hour and a half. It follows an emergency meeting of the Cabinet this lunchtime.
More on this evening’s big announcement:
CONFIRMED: England to go into second national lockdown on Thursday
People in England will be told to stay at home as the country is placed under another national lockdown on Thursday – with the closure of hospitality and non-essential shops.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce the new restrictions – which are set to last until December 2 – at a press conference later on Saturday.
Pubs, bars and restaurants will close, though takeaways will be allowed, and all non-essential retail will be shut.
The restrictions will be similar to those introduced at the start of the pandemic in March, however this time schools and universities are expected to remain open.
People will still be able to exercise outdoors, and travel to work if they cannot work from home, though restrictions on international travel are likely to be introduced.
MPs will vote on the new measures before they are introduced at 00.01 on Thursday, and when they lapse, the current tier system will be reintroduced.
Public told to ‘listen carefully’ to PM’s announcement
Tory MP Steve Baker, a sceptic of lockdown restrictions, warned the public and colleagues to listen “extremely carefully” to what Boris Johnson says as the Prime Minister looks set to announce a new lockdown for England.
Speaking outside No 10, Mr Baker told Sky News: “Today what I’ve had is the opportunity to take a team into Downing Street, there were three scientists, myself, a data analyst.
“We’ve had an amazing opportunity to robustly scrutinise the arguments, the data, the forecasts of where we’re going, and what I would say to people is the Prime Minister has a got very, very difficult choices to make.
“And I would encourage all members of the public, and all members of Parliament, to listen extremely carefully to what the Prime Minister says today and over the coming days.”
This graphic charts the rise in infections since May
Has the Government met its 500k-a-day testing target?
Boris Johnson’s pledge that the UK’s coronavirus testing capacity would reach 500,000-per-day by the end of October will not be confirmed until Monday.
A statement on the Department of Health’s coronavirus data dashboard said: “Please note: In line with our standard reporting procedure, capacity figures for Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be updated on the dashboard on Monday.”
The latest data on the dashboard from Thursday shows that there is currently a capacity for 480,961 tests – with 347,626 tests actually being processed.
The Downing Street press conference has been pushed back again, this time to 6.30pm.
Key dates over the past month as England heads towards second lockdown
Boris Johnson launches a three-tier system of local alert levels for England, with the Liverpool City Region placed in Tier 3.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer calls on the Prime Minister to impose a short circuit-breaker lockdown across England to bring the coronavirus resurgence under control.
As the three-tier system comes into effect, Government health officials are expected to discuss with councillors in Greater Manchester and Lancashire whether to classify the areas as Tier 3 – the most severe.
But Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham brands the Tier 3 restrictions “fundamentally flawed” and says “we won’t accept it”, later threatening legal action if the move is imposed by Whitehall despite his opposition.
Matt Hancock tells MPs that London, Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Erewash and Chesterfield will move into the second tier of measures from Saturday.
– Mr Burnham accuses the Government of treating the North with “contempt” as a row erupts over proposed coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the area.
– He also claims that England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam told regional leaders that only a national-style lockdown is sure to have an impact on the rising number of Covid-19 cases.
Lancashire moves into Tier 3.
After more than a week of negotiations, the Prime Minister announced that Greater Manchester will move into Tier 3.
Large areas of South Yorkshire including Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield go into Tier 3.
Warrington move into Tier 3.
Nottinghamshire enters Tier 3.
Boris Johnson will be addressing the nation in just 15 minutes