Boris Johnson has said there is “no question” the government will announce stricter measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus “in due course”.
He predicted “tough, tough” weeks to come, with more than three-quarters of England’s population already under the highest – tier four – restrictions.
On Sunday, the UK recorded more than 50,000 new confirmed Covid cases for the sixth day in a row.
Labour is calling for new England-wide restrictions to come in immediately.
Leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was “inevitable” more schools would have to close to lessen the spread of coronavirus.
An additional 454 deaths within 28 days of a positive test result were reported across the UK on Sunday, meaning the total by this measure is now above 75,000.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the “old tier system” in England was “no longer strong enough” to contain increasing infections.
Hospitals are coming under increasing pressure, as cases mount up.
The old tier system is no longer enough…the figures are only heading in one direction.
These are the words of the health secretary and a health minister.
Boris Johnson says stricter measures are coming, which immediately sparks the questions “when?,” and “what are you waiting for?”
Downing Street wants to push a tougher message on adherence to the current rules in England while it assesses the latest Christmas data, but is coming under growing pressure to act sooner.
With Nicola Sturgeon about to go further in Scotland and the Labour leader calling for an immediate national lockdown, it’s difficult to see how the prime minister can wait much longer.