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BORIS Johnson will hold a press conference at 5pm tonight as England’s third lockdown began today.

The PM will attempt to calm the nation today as they were once again told to stay at home – when he appears alongside Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance.

The PM is expected to discuss the new coronavirus rules again and emphasise why the nation has been told to stay at home – and how hospitals are on the brink of being overwhelmed within 21 days.

In a dramatic escalation in the fight against Covid, the PM ordered the closure of all schools and non-essential shops for at least the next seven weeks.

In England alone, some 27,000 people are in hospital with COVID, 40% more than during the first peak in April.

A huge 80,000 positive cases were reported on December 29 – prompting the PM to introduce sweeping national measures. The number is higher than the official figures coming out daily as a result of extra positive tests which sometimes take a few days to come back.

Boris may also give the nation an update on how the vaccine rollout is going, and how he plans to jab 13million vulnerable Brits by the middle of February.

It will start with people in care homes, followed by all those over 80, then more NHS workers.

After that the over 75s will get the jab, and then those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and who have had to sheild.

The NHs needs to reach two million people a week to reach the PM’s goal, but only 300,000 are currently being given out at the moment.

The efforts will be ramped up with more vaccination centres coming online this week – and with the rollout of the Oxford jab to GPs it will be easier to do.

The lockdown will legally kick in tonight at midnight, but people have been told to start staying home from today.

But the lockdown may be extended into March if the vaccine rollout is too slow, Michael Gove warned today.

Progress would be reviewed in the final week of lockdown – the 15th of February – but March was the point at which restrictions would likely be lifted, he said.

He told Sky News: “We can’t predict with certainty that we will be able to lift restrictions in the week commencing February 15-22.

“What we will be doing is everything that we can to make sure that as many people as possible are vaccinated, so that we can begin to progressively lift restrictions.

“I think it is right to say that as we enter March we should be able to lift some of these restrictions but not necessarily all.”

Last night the PM urged Brits to follow the third nationwide lockdown immediately, and once again put Brits under effective house arrest – resurrecting the ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives slogan’.

And it was the new variant – which is between 50 and 70 per cent more transmissible – which has forced him to act.

Mr Johnson said people will only be allowed out of their homes to buy essential food and medicine supplies, attend medical appointments, exercise, work if it is critical and cannot be done from home and to provide care for a vulnerable person. 

Police will have legal powers to enforce the rules but fines will not be increased despite a drop in compliance. 

Free school meals will continue to go to those who need them as schools stay shut, and more laptops will be dished out to kids across the nation who haven’t got the ability to learn online at home.

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News – Boris Johnson to hold press conference at 5pm after England’s lockdown begins