For No 10, this is probably the best thing they will read on Twitter all day. A snap YouGov poll suggests there is strong public support for the government’s decision to ban people from socialising in groups of more than six in most circumstances.
Q: These plans are a blow for the travel industry. Will the moonshot plan remove the need for quarantine?
Johnson says these measures are not intended to provide any new problems for the travel industry.
Q: Is the technology behind this moonshot plan reliable?
Vallance says some of this can be done with existing technology. But some of these technologies have not been tested. It would be “completely wrong” to assume that this is a “slam dunk”.
Whitty says it is “likely” that we will have tests of this sort in the “not too distant future”, but that does not mean immediately.
Johnson says he is very ambitious about this. He hopes a lot of progress can be made in a short period of time.
And that’s it. The press conference is over.
There will be reaction, analysis and a summary coming up soon.
Whitty says we need to take these measures because “the alternative is worse”.
Q: Are you worried this could deter people from going back to work?
Johnson says the whole objective of this is allow the country to keep going forward
He say most pupils have gone back to school.
Vallance says young people have a very low risk of death.
But they can still get ill, and stay ill for a long period of time, he says.
Q: Do you feel comfortable stopping grandparents from seeing their children?
Johnson say of course he doesn’t.
But people who think they can just take responsibility for their own health are wrong, because they could be putting other people at risk.
He says he is doing this to prevent a wider lockdown to the economy.
Whitty says the government has a much better idea what is happening now, through testing, than it had earlier in the crisis.
But he says people have had difficulty getting tests.
It is important that people don’t get tests when they don’t need them.
At any level of capacity, you can do more things.
He says the PM has been talking about what you could do if you had a “huge” change in testing.
- Whitty says there would have to be “huge” expansion of testing for PM’s Covid-free pass plan to be viable.
Q: Do you accept people will not have a normal Christmas?
Johnson says it is “just too early to say”.
He says the government has two big approaches.
It wants to change behaviour from the rule of six.
And it wants to give people passports through its “moonshot”. It is ambitious, but the government is backing it with all it’s got.
Q: What is your response to John Major? (See 3.59pm.)
Johnson says he does not see it the way Major does. He says he sees the measures in the internal market bill as protecting the UK from extreme interpretations of the withdrawal agreement.
Q: Two months ago you said we might be back to normal by Christmas. That’s wrong, isn’t it?
Johnson says he is still hopeful that some aspects of normal life could return.
He talks about testing, and the idea that people could get tested every morning. That would give people a passport. They could then mingle in theatres or cinemas or places of work.
He says he is aiming for this, but he cannot be sure he will deliver it.
If they follow the rule of six, they can get the virus under control, he says.