Thank you, I'm now going to go to questions from the public and then from the media.
We're gonna go first to Matt from Plymouth.
Quieter corners of the country,such as southeast Cornwall,have very low incidence of COVID,but are we likely to see restrictions put in placein solidarity with the rest of the UK?
{BJ ⠶ Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister}Well, thanks very much.Matt lookit's not solidarity with the rest of UK alas.It's not a gesture.What we're seeing, the numbers from the's very clear that it's doubling there as welland the pressure on the hospitals in the southwest is particularly acuteand we've got to recognize that although the incidence is low,it is growing in the southwest and we need to tackle itand we need to tackle it now,but Chris and Patrick, anything you want to add to that?
{CW ⠶ Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England}The only thing to add Prime Minister is just to reiteratemany of the areas which are lower have some of the highest rates of increaseand also some areas including the southwest are likely to get pressure on beds really relatively earlybecause of the particular way that the NHS is constructed in those areas,
{BJ}Thanks very much Matt.Let's go to Alex from London.Alex from London asks:“Many graduates of 2020 are struggling to find workand having their internships and placements cancelled.What is the government doing to support graduates in accessing the labour market?”
Thanks Alexone of the many things that we're doing is the 2 billion pound Kickstart program,which is designed to help 18 to 24 year-olds get into the labour supporting their employers to take them onwith a contribution from government to the value of the living wageand we hope that will be effective in what I'm questioning to be tough months aheadKickstart amongst many other schemes that we're using to support young peopleto get jobs across this country.
I'm gonna go now to(since that was obviously a question for me rather than the scientists)I'm gonna go to Laura Kuenssberg of the BBC, Laura.
{LK ⠶ Laura Kuenssberg, BBC News}Thanks very much and good evening Prime Minister.You were told by your own scientists many weeks agothat you would have to take national action in order to save lives,Prime Minister what took you so long?And to Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick,you've always been clear that taking _early_ action would have the greatest chance of successin controlling the spread of this disease.Do you think that people may have lost their lives unnecessarily because of the delay?
{BJ}Well Laura look let me just answer your question by sayingthis is a constant struggle and a balancethat any government has to makebetween lives and livelihoodsand obviously lives must come first,but we have to be mindful the whole time of the scarringthe long-term economic impactof the measures that we're obliged to introduceso I do think it was right and rational to go for the regional approach.
You know if we could have got the R down in those local areasin the way that we wanted to get it below one.We came very close and in some places,I think that would have been a great way forwardAlas, in common with many other parts of this continent,we've just seen an overall growth rate in the second waveand it has made it absolutely vital to act now(to spare) to protect our NHS and to save lives.
And you know,yes, it is true that the course of the pandemic has changedand it's also right that the government should changeand modulate its response in accordance.I make absolutely no apologies for that butI know there are other questions sorry.[Gestures to advisers]
{PV ⠶ Sir Patrick Vallance, UK's Chief Scientific Adviser}This is a horrible virusand these are horrendous decisions to have to make.And you know,one shouldn't underestimate the impact of lockdownand all the other things that come along with that
There's no doubt from the purely point of view of the spread of COVIDthe earlier you go in the betterand so that is definitely the case for the spread of the disease.But of course you know people have to take into account other things as welland that's a matter for politicians.
{BJ}Thanks very much
{CW}The only other thing I'd add is that relative to other countries in Europe,some have gone earlier and some have gone later.We're not with France, for example,has actually gone arguably slightly later in terms of this epidemic curveand these are very difficult judgments for every government
I would reiterate though the pointjust from a health point of viewmany of the things that are involved have significant downsidesand therefore we've always been having to win the advicewalk the path of saying there is some very significant things you have to do early,but if you do them early,you also come with a very significant costand how do you balance those two across one another
{BJ}Thanks so much Laura.Beth of Sky News
{BR ⠶ Beth Rigby}Thank you, Prime Minister,you said recently,a national lockdown would be a disaster.Many people watching this tonight will concludethat your failure to follow SAGE adviceand the advice of the men standing by your side5 weeks ago was now the wrong call:we face a longer lockdownChristmas is in doubtthe NHS could be overwhelmed.Do you accept you should have followed the scientific advice more closely?Do you regret that you haven't
And if I could just ask Professor Whittymany people will be watching this tonight,they will be very worried about what it means for them and their families,particularly going into ChristmasRealistically is it now too little too lateto get us to a place where we will be able to celebrate Christmas with our families?
{BJ}Thanks, BethLook, I just really repeat the point I made to Laura.We've obviously had to listen to all kinds of scientific advicesome of which tends in very much a different direction from some of the SAGE advice that you've seenbut we also have to balance that scientific advicewith the consequences for people's lives so:people's mental healthpeople's livelihoods that come from lock down measuresand you've heard what David Navarro of the World Health organization,a very estimable epidemiologistsays about lockdownsThere's a range of advice and there's a balance that we have to strike.I think I would just stress that we're not going back to[...]you know we're not closing schools.It's very very important that:we're keeping schools openconstructionmanufacturingwe want to keep goingpeople of course should work from home.we want to minimize contact and get the R downand that's the important thingThat's the way to protect the NHS,but you know,I'm not going to pretend to you that these judgments aren't incredibly difficult.They are incredibly difficult.And we have to find the right balance.And we have to change with the changing pattern of the virus,and alas what we're seeing now is a pretty consistent surge,not just in this country but across many of our friends and partners in Europeso we have to deal with it, Beth.
{CW}In terms of the timingthe idea that there is some perfect time to act is a complete misapprehensionThere is basically no perfect timeand there are no good solutions.All the solutions are badand what we're trying to do is have the fewest:either the least bad set of solutions at a time,at which you actually achieve the kind of balance that needs to be struckbetween all of these things that ministers have to make decisions onand in terms of making festivitieswhether it's Christmas or any other religious traditionwe would have a much better chance of doing it with these measuresthan we would if these measures were not being taken todayand I think let us see how this goes over the next few weeks.
{BJ}Thanks very much ChrisLet's go to...and thanks Bethlet's go to Romilly Weeks of ITV News
{RW ⠶ Romilly Weeks, ITV News}Prime Minister, thank youThe route out of the first lockdownwas supposed to be local restrictionsand Test And Trace.Now those have shown to be totally inadequate.Why do you think that they will help to get us out of a second lockdown?
And to the medics, if I may,Do you believe a month of lockdown will be enoughto allow families to be together at Christmas?Do you believe like the Prime Ministerthat things will be better by Spring?
{BJ}Romilly, first on why I think the local approach remains the right approachand know I talked about...what we're gonna do with:the lateral flow testingthe mass testing,the LAMP testingall the kinds of testing that we're going to be rolling outalready are rolling outthat works so well if you have local buy-inlocal support,local organizations,local councils,public health directors,everybody involved togetherand the same applies to all the measures that we want to put in place.That's why the regional approach was right.One reason why the local approach was right.
Second reason,you know, as I say,when you have a situation in whichin a very big country with a huge population,you have wide, very significant disparities in incidence,it's logical not to treat the whole country the sameand you heard that point made by Johnathan Van-Tam and others very recentlyand I think that holds a lot of water
The trouble we've gotI'm afraid Romillyis that the local leadership and the local initiativesthe tiers they were in,they made progress.
I mean they did get the R down in the areasor lower than it would otherwise beno questionno question they made a huge...their sacrifices, their effortsmade a huge differenceand perhaps if we continuedit really would have worked in those areas.
The problem was that we were just seeing too many cases really taking off across the whole countryand it wasn't coming down fast enough in those most badly affected areasand so you have to take a judgementand we have to try now to get this thing,to get the Rright under controlwith the measures that were we're setting out
Then toas I saidto come out of it in December andhopefully people will have something a bit closer to a normal Christmas as a resultbut more important than that,we will be able to spare the NHS and save livesand that's the fundamental objective
{CW}On the questions you asked me,I think if we did not act now,then the chances of the NHS being in extraordinary trouble in December would be very in a sense,this is trying to make sure that December is not an impossible place for the NHSwith large numbers of people infectedand large numbers dying.
I am, howeveras the Prime Minister said,one of the scientists,one of many scientistswho are much more optimistic when we look forward to Springand that's for multiple reasons,each one of which contributes a small amountbut the two biggest ones are:as the seasons move onwe all know that this is (the late autumn and winter period is)the period of greatest risk for respiratory viruses.That's true for everything, flu and many other viruses as well.and we expect that will come to our significant advantage.when we come through to the Spring,for lots of reasons,people behaving differently because they outdoorsmore open windows and so onand temperature,but also and importantly there there are now multiple shots on goal from scienceand the scientific effort that is going on at the moment is absolutely unparalleledfrom the UK with enormous work done through::the National Institute for Health Research:and Medical Research Council:and Wellcome Trust:and others through the academic sector leading that work also through many countriesdoing the same kind of activities:and all the pharmaceutical industry engaged
If you think about that body of work,it is steadily going to come on top of this infectionjust as it has every infection we've had to date
And I think it is important, always to rememberthat medical science is remarkably effective,but the area it has been most effective is in tackling infectious diseasesand which used to be the predominant cause of mortalityand they've now changed
So the expectation that science will bring forward large numbers of thingswhich cumulatively will get on top of this.I think is not an unreasonable oneThat is what you would expectbased on all previous experience
{PV}And I think there are three concrete things to bear in mindof the advances in science:First, we now know one drug, Dexamethasonethat reduces death from COVIDin patients requiring oxidation with oxygen in hospitalSecond, vaccines are now in late stage clinical trials,and there are many in late stage clinical trials showing an immune response.Doesn't mean they're all gonna work,but it's a very important step along the wayThird, the new testing approaches so the idea of faster near person testing,which has been difficult up until now,and it wasn't certain that you get therenow looks realas though that's gonna come onlineso those three things together are concreteand you can see therefore the advances that are likely to come into play over the next monthsand certainly by next year in Spring and beyondyou start to see the effects of some of those
{BJ}Thanks so much, Romilly, thanksLet's go to David Williamson, Mail on Sunday.
{DW ⠶ David Williamson, Mail on Sunday}If this 4 week lockdown doesn't do the trickand you have to extendwhat sort of length of time do you envisage??Another week, another 2 weeks, another 4 weeks?And could I perhaps ask Professor Vallanceand sorry Professor Whitty and Sir Patrickwhether they think that 4 weeks is enough,or whether they were pushing for a bit longer?And the other thing I'd like to ask quicklyis the Premier League matches...are they still gonna be played throughout this period?
{BJ}I can say yes to the Premier LeagueI think with authority
On the..."is the period up to the second of December going to be enough",I hope so, we have every reason to believe it will bebut we will be driven by the scienceand we will look at where we've got toyou know I'm optimisticbecause you know,it's like as I saidyou know, a couple of weeks agoand I said again tonight,you knowthe R, although it's above one is not that much above one.I think looking at the one of the slides that Patrick showed us earlier,you know it has been coming down.The trouble is it's...that still means that the disease is doublingif we can get it below one then as you know,it starts halvingand that's where we wanna getand we think this package will do thatbut we will be led by the evidence.
{PV}The key is getting the R really below one during this 4 if we all do what we're supposed to do during this,the R will come downif we can get the R well below oneit starts to halve and we end up in a much better position,but I don't think it's a situation where in 4 weeks time you just say well,everything's back to normal againthere's gonna have to still be some restrictions over the winteruntil the new measures come in Springand the new things come alongbut 4 weeks with a really good reduction of R would make a big difference
{BJ}And just on the period coming upas it wereto December the second,we will be looking very carefully at what's happening in the tiered areasand working out exactly which tier would be most appropriateas we come out of these tougher Autumn measures
let's go to Harriet Line of the Press Association.
{HL ⠶ Harriet Line, Press Association}Thank you Prime Minister.What is your message to leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?Do you want them to follow your lead and introduce the same measures?and if not are you considering restrictions on travel between the four nations?and to the scientists,Why are you confident that you won't need full shielding this time around?and is there also a danger that hospitals could still be overwhelmeddespite these new restrictions?
{BJ}Well, thanks very much Harrietfirst of all on the devolved administrationsthe situation now is that there's actually quite a large degree of congruencebetween the whole of the UKand the sense that Northern Ireland and Wales have very similar arrangements alreadyto the ones where we're announcing tonight.
Scotland as you know has its five tier systemwhich also involves some pretty stringent measuresto deal with fundamentally the same problem that we have across the whole of the UK,which actually we're dealing with in pretty much the same wayand as you know every day, there are constant discussions between the four CMOsand certainly at the political level,constant conversationsabout how we're fighting this together
{CW}Yeah and just to reinforcewe (the four CMOs) talk together very regularlyto try and make sure that the science and the thinking is as aligned as possiblein terms of shielding,which is your question specifically to uswe're not suggesting that people who previously were on the shielding listthe just over 2 million people who are on the shielding listdo not need to take extra precautions.They do,but the exact...we learned a lot from the first time with the shielding programand some of the things work,but some of the things did notso what we're not aiming to do is to reproduce it
There were both some practical problemsand there was also the issue of people having significant problems of loneliness,and feeling completely cut off from societyand what we're trying to do is try and avoid those downsides of shieldingwhile reinforcing the message that for people who are particularly vulnerable,they do need to take even greater precautions than the general public.
{BJ}Right well, that's that brings us to the close.Thank you very much.Thank you everybody for watching.
I'll just repeat those three rays of sunshineor of optimismfrom our scientific and medical advisers(rather than from me)the prospect of ever better already dexamethasonethe realistic(though by no means certain, but realistic)prospect of a vaccineand then the hopes and confidencethat we're now placing in rapid turnaround testingthat we're rolling out across the country,but in the meantime,we have to put in place these tougher measuresfor now until the second of December across the country.
And it goes without saying everybody don't forget the basics.Don't forget:hands,face,space,get a test if you have symptoms.
Thank you all very much.Stay safe.Thank you.