Boris Johnson has said that his Government will not hesistate to use the military to deliver changes to lockdown rules.
Unveiling a range of measures to try and contain a growing second wave of the coronavirus in the UK, Mr Johnson said the government would also make more resources available to the police to enforce the rules.
Speaking to MPs he said: “We will provide the police and local authorities with the extra funding they need, a greater police presence on our streets.
“And the option to draw on military support where required to free up the police.”
The armed forces have been used throughout this crisis to help efforts to contain the virus.
During the UK’s first lockdown they were used extensively to help in Nightingale hospitals and in complex logistical projects.
The Prime Minister announced a blizzard of new measures on pubs, takeaways, masks and £200 fines as coronavirus rates soar – as he said the military could be used to enforce them and they’ll last “perhaps six months”.
Other measures included:
- From Thursday, all hospitality and leisure venues in England will be forced by law to close between 10pm and 5am
- Pubs will be forced to close at 10pm sharp – meaning they must call last orders at around 9.30pm
- All hospitality venues will be forced to operate as table service only from Thursday
From Thursday five-a-side football indoors will be axed as an exemption to the ‘rule of six’ for indoor team sports is axed.
From Monday only 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, down from 30.
The fine for breaking the ‘rule of six’ will double from £100 to £200.
Passengers in taxis and private hire cabs will be required by law to wear face covering from Thursday.
The changes in the rule will also make the wearing of these coverings a requirement for people working in pubs, restaurants and shops.
Alongside these changes all citizens are being told to work from home if they can with immediate effect – and from Thursday, all pubs, restaurants and even kebab shops and takeaways must shut from 10pm.
The PM warned there will be “greater firepower” and “significantly greater restrictions” if the measures don’t work.
He dismissed Tory calls to let people judge their own risk, saying: “Your harmless cough can be someone else’s death knell.”
And he warned the Army could be deployed on the streets, saying: “We will provide the police and local authorities with the extra funding they need, a greater police presence on our streets and the option to draw on military support where required to free up the police.”
He also told the 2.2million vulnerable people who shielded earlier this year that they still don’t need to shield – except in specific local lockdown areas.
He said: “If we fail to act together now, we will not only place others at risk, but jeopardise our own futures with the more drastic action we would inevitably be forced to take.”
He went on: “We will spare no efforts in developing vaccines, treatments, new forms of mass testing.
“But unless we palpably make progress, we should assume the restrictions I have announced will remain in place for perhaps six months.”
And despite pressure to do so there will be no total ban on two households meeting up, either in private or in a pub or restaurant – except for the 13.7million people already under local lockdowns.
Announcing the blizzard of measures in the Commons, Boris Johnson said “a stitch in time saves nine” and insisted it was “not a return” to the full lockdown of March.
“We’re not issuing a general instruction to stay at home”, he said.
But No10 admitted the restrictions will go on for months.
The PM’s official spokesman said: “We are in for a challenging winter period and restrictions are going to be required for a number of months”.
And Mr Johnson said the new restrictions will last “perhaps six months”.