/Boris Johnson to hold Covid press conference as Europe cases surge

Boris Johnson to hold Covid press conference as Europe cases surge

LONDON, ENGLAND ??? SEPTEMBER 14: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a press conference in the Downing Street Briefing Room on September 14, 2021 in London, England. The prime minister's briefing was preceded by his health secretary's appearance before the House of Commons, in which he laid out the country's strategies for managing the pandemic through the autumn and winter. (Photo by Dan Kitwood-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson will hold a Downing Street press conference later (Picture: Getty Images Europe)

Boris Johnson will hold a Covid press conference this afternoon after warning a ‘blizzard’ of infections is spreading across Europe.

The PM will appear from Downing Street at 3pm alongside the chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and the chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty.

He’ll likely warn people to get a booster jab or face the prospect of restrictions returning over Christmas.

Earlier, it was announced that those aged 40 to 49 are being offered a third dose of a vaccine for the first time.

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The booster rollout is being extended at a time where infections are rapidly rising in parts of the continent.

Speaking to reporters earlier, Mr Johnson warned this ‘blizzard’ could derail plans to let Christmas go ahead with no rules in place.

He said: ‘We don’t see anything in the data at the moment to suggest that we need to go to Plan B, we’re sticking with Plan A.

‘But what we have certainly got to recognise is there is a storm of infection out there in parts of Europe, you can see those numbers ticking up very sharply in some of our continental friends.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 15: Prime minister Boris Johnson have a drink as he visits Woodgrange GP Surgery vaccination centre today in East London on November 15, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Jeremy Selwyn-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson visited a vaccination centre at a GP practice as the green light was given for booster jabs for the under 40s (Picture: Getty)

‘And we’ve just got to recognise that there is always a risk that a blizzard could come from the east again, as the months get colder.

‘The best protection for our country is for everybody to go forward and get their booster.’

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s most recent overview listed 10 countries as being ‘of very high concern’ – Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia.

Across the EU as a whole, the assessment noted a ‘high and rapidly increasing overall case notification’.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his visit to Woodgrange GP Surgery vaccination centre in east London to meet staff and see people receiving their booster vaccines. Picture date: Monday November 15, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus . Photo credit should read: Jeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard /PA Wire
The PM has warned a ‘blizzard’ of European infections could come to the UK (Picture: PA)

Earlier Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden admitted that travel restrictions may need to return if there is a ‘dramatic change’ in the situation in nearby countries.

Under Plan B of the Government’s strategy for the autumn and winter, the use of face coverings could become mandatory, vaccine passports could be required for some busy venues and people could be asked to work from home where possible.

Ministers are hopeful this will not be needed and are instead pushing the booster campaign as a way of averting new restrictions.

But the uptake of third doses has been slower than the previous rollout and 25% of over 70s still haven’t had the jab.

Mr Johnson told reporters during a visit to a GP practice: ‘So far, we’ve got 75% of everybody over 70 getting a booster, that’s a huge number of people, but it’s that further 25% that will make all the difference to the winter, to Christmas, to our plans going forward, because it’s that extra level of protection that we really need.

‘So the message is anybody over 70 come forward, get your booster, anybody over 50 come forward to get your booster, and now, in the next week or so, anybody over 40 as well come forward and get your booster.’

MORE : Covid ‘blizzard from the east’ to put Christmas at risk

MORE : Covid booster jabs extended to over-40s in time for Christmas

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