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Prime Minister Boris Johnson set to urge people to work from home and announce 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants as Covid-19 cases rise

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Boris Johnson will tell people to work from home "if you can" in an address to the nation tonight.

Michael Gove told Sky News this morning that the advice marks a "shift in emphasis", as he added that plans for 80% of Whitehall to return by the end of month have been scrapped.

Boris Johnson is expected to announce further restrictions
Boris Johnson is expected to announce further restrictions

The Prime Minister is expected to announce the new advice this evening, as part of a raft of new restrictions to help tackle a rapid rise in Coivd-19 cases.

He is also expected to reveal that pubs, bars and restaurants will close by 10pm every night from Thursday, while people will also be banned from ordering at the bar.

Hospitality leaders have condemned this anticipated move, describing it as a “crushing blow” for the sector.

Mr Johnson will also emphasise the need for people to follow social-distancing guidance, wear face coverings and wash their hands regularly.

It comes after the Government's chief scientific and medical advisers painted a grim picture of how 200 or more people in the UK could die each day by mid-November if the current rate of infection is not halted.

Hospitality leaders have condemned plans for a 10pm curfew. Stock picture: iStock
Hospitality leaders have condemned plans for a 10pm curfew. Stock picture: iStock

Sir Patrick Vallance, speaking alongside Professor Chris Whitty yesterday, aid the “vast majority of the population remain susceptible” to catching coronavirus and the current situation required swift action to bring the case numbers down.

The UK’s four chief medical officers then recommended raising the Covid alert level from three to four – the second highest – indicating the “epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially”.

Mr Johnson will chair meetings of Cabinet and the Cobra emergency committee – including the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – today, before a televised address at 8pm.

A Number 10 spokesperson said: “No-one underestimates the challenges the new measures will pose to many individuals and businesses.

“We know this won’t be easy, but we must take further action to control the resurgence in cases of the virus and protect the NHS.”

But the fresh restrictions sparked anger from the hospitality sector, with Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, describing them as “another crushing blow” for many businesses.

“A hard close time is bad for business and bad for controlling the virus – we need to allow time for people to disperse over a longer period,” she said.

“Table service has been widely adopted in some parts of the sector since reopening but it is not necessary across all businesses, such as coffee shops.

“It is hard to understand how these measures are the solution to fighting the disease when Government data shows that just 5% of infections out of the home are related to hospitality.”