News Boris Johnson gives councils lightning lockdown powers to stop local coronavirus cases The PM has also announced that the NHS will get an extra £3 billion in funding to prepare for a possible second wave of the pandemic Share Click to play Tap to play The video will start in 8 Cancel Play now
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Boris Johnson has announced that from tomorrow councils will be given wide-ranging powers to contain local outbreaks of Covid-19.
Local authorities will be given the powers to shutdown areas if the virus begins to spread.
They will include the powers to close whole sectors of the economy, impose ‘stay at home’ orders and prevent people arriving in or leaving certain areas.
Council chiefs will also have the powers to restrict transport and limit the number of people at gatherings.
It comes after a breakout of the virus in Leicester led to a two-week local lockdown, which was partially eased yesterday.
The Prime Minister told a Downing Street press conference: "From tomorrow, local authorities will have new powers in their areas.
"They will be able to close specific premises, shut public outdoor spaces and cancel events.
"These powers will enable local authorities to act more quickly in response to outbreaks where speed is paramount. Boris Johnson has handed sweeping new powers to councils (Image: PA) Read More Coronavirus lockdown relaxed from August 1 with changes to working from home
"Action by local councils will not always be sufficient, so next week we will publish draft regulations on how central government can intervene more effectively at a local level.
"Where justified by the evidence, ministers will be able to close whole sectors or types of premises in an area, introduce local stay-at-home orders, prevent people entering or leaving defined areas, reduce the size of gatherings beyond the national defined rules or restrict transport systems serving local areas."
The PM also confirmed that the NHS will get an extra £3 billion in funding to prepare for a possible second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
In the wake of a dire warning of the consequences of Covid-19 rebounding, Downing Street said the funding will allow extra hospital capacity while allowing routine treatments and procedures to continue. A local lockdown has been imposed in Leicester (Image: EMPICS Entertainment) Read More PM ignores chief scientist's advice and urges millions of Brits back to work
Mr Johnson also committed to a new target of reaching the capacity for 500,000 coronavirus tests a day by November.
The funding for the NHS in England will allow private hospital capacity to be used and for Nightingale hospitals to be maintained until the end of March.
It comes after a report commissioned by the Government's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, warned there could be 120,000 hospital deaths in a "reasonable worst-case scenario".
Winter always places a great strain on the health service, but there are concerns a resurgence of the virus during the annual flu season could be crippling.
Mr Johnson is also expected to publish an additional chapter to the Government's "road map" for recovery from the crisis.
The PM also set out plans to get workers safely back on to public transport – fearing that unless they do, city centre offices will remain empty.
The Government will drop advice employees should work from home when they can – and suggest if safety measures are in place, they go into the office.
It comes just hours after his chief scientist said people should keep working from home if they can.
It comes as lockdown was partially lifted in Leicester yesterday amid a row over why some restrictions remain in force. Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned there could be 120,000 hospital deaths in a "reasonable worst-case scenario" (Image: House of Commons/PA)
On Thursday, Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific advisor, warned committee of MPs home-working was an effective method of keeping people distanced from each other.
He said: “It remains a perfectly good option, it’s easy to do. I can see absolutely no reason to change it.” His words put him on collision course with the PM as the country faces an economic crisis.
Union bosses have warned that the safety of workers must not be put at risk in order to prop up struggling high streets.
TUC chief Frances O’Grady told the Mirror: “ Boris Johnson needs to tell us what his plan is for parents who can’t find childcare and for those shielding at home. What are they supposed to do?
“We all want to get the economy up and running as quickly as possible. But now is not the time to wing it. Employers must have carried out and published thorough risk assessments so workers have the confidence it's safe for them to return.
“And companies must agree to staggered start times for workers who rely on public transport. We can’t afford for rush hour to become crush hour.”
Chief scientist Sir Patrick also told MPs the UK now faces waves of Covid-19 for years to come.
But Sir Patrick said: “I think it’s quite probable that we will see this virus coming back in different waves, over a number of years.”
“It’s very difficult to know where we stand at the moment. It’s clear the outcome has not been good in the UK.” Coronavirus outbreak