UK lockdown: Keir Starmer demands Boris puts ENTIRE country under lockdown within 24 hours

But he stopped short of calling for all schools across the country to be closed.

Sir Keir criticised the Prime Minister after he hinted tougher new COVID-19 restrictions could soon be enforced.

He said: “There’s no good the Prime Minister hinting that further restrictions are coming into place in a week, or two or three.

“That delay has been the source of so many problems.

“So, I say bring in those restrictions now, national restrictions, within the next 24 hours.

“That has to be the first step towards controlling the virus.”

Commenting on the possible closure of schools across England, Sir Keir said: “Everybody wants children back in school. There is nobody that would argue with that.

“I don’t want to call for the closure of schools tomorrow morning and add to the chaos, but we do need to recognise that it is inevitable that more schools will close, and we need a plan in place to deal with it.

“But it can only be part of a wider strategy that has a national lockdown in place in the next 24 hours.

“The Prime Minister is hinting at it, but he’s not doing it. We can’t afford that delay again.

“Let’s not have the Prime Minister saying ‘I’m going to do it, but not yet’, that’s the problem he has made so many times.

“Nationwide lockdown – the Prime Minister has hinted that that’s going to happen but he’s delaying again.”

Sir Keir also said the coronavirus vaccine being rolled out throughout the country is “our great hope”.

He called on the Government to do everything within its power to ensure two million Britons a week have been vaccinated by the end of January.

The Labour leader said: “I want the Government to throw everything it can at this, harnessing the extraordinary talents of our NHS so we can be vaccinating at least two million Brits a week by the end of the month.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in Liverpool has trebled in the past two weeks to 350 per 100,000, despite the city successfully leading on the national pilot for community testing, which saw it also become the first city to drop down to Tier 2 from Tier 3.

The latest call for a national lockdown was made in a statement from the city council, from Cllr Wendy Simon and Cabinet Member for Public Health, Cllr Paul Brant.

They said: “It is clear that the country is now at a crossroads with Covid-19.

“The stark reality is that today this virulent new strain of the virus is very much on the rise and we need to act now to prevent a crisis that will unleash even more pain and anguish.

“We need the government to listen to those at the frontline, both in our hospitals and frontline services.

“We as a nation can cope with a lockdown. We have before and we can again. The quicker we move into one now, the more lives will be saved and the quicker a recovery will be.

“Yes, there will be pain for our retail and hospitality sectors, but they want long term security and a strong recovery and a lockdown provides both.

“An additional package of welfare and economic support will also be needed, especially to protect the most vulnerable.”

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Johnson hinted tougher restrictions to fight the coronavirus pandemic could be enforced over the next few weeks.

The Prime Minister warned the current tiering system was already “very tough” and would likely need tightening.

The Prime Minister told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: “It may be that we need to do things in the next few weeks that will be tougher in many parts of the country.

“I’m fully, fully reconciled to that.

“There are obviously a range of tougher measures that that we would have to consider.

“I’m not going to speculate now about what they would be, but I’m sure that all our viewers and our listeners will understand what the sort of things… clearly school closures, which we had to do in March is one of those things.”

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