Boris Johnson to hold sombre 5pm press conference tonight as UK marks first anniversary of lockdown

BORIS Johnson is expected to hold a sombre 5pm press conference tonight as the UK marks the first anniversary of the first lockdown.

The PM is making plans to address the nation after a minute of silence will be held across the nation at 2pm in tribute to the 125,000 lives lost.

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Last year was “one of the most difficult” in the history of Britain, the PM said as the nation prepared to stand still at noon to remember the dead.

Church bells will then chime and iconic landmarks will be lit up at 8pm across the UK in tribute.

Tonight he will join many others across the country on their doorsteps in a moment of remembrance.

The movement, spearheaded by Marie Curie and the Together Coalition, will bring together 200 organisations from across the country to “mourn as a nation”.

Last night ahead of the anniversary, the PM vowed to end lockdowns once and for all.

The PM added: “We should also remember the great spirit shown by our nation over this past year.

"We have all played our part, whether it’s working on the front line as a nurse or carer, working on vaccine development and supply, helping to get that jab into arms, home schooling your children, or just by staying at home to prevent the spread of the virus.

“It’s because of every person in this country that lives have been saved, our NHS was protected, and we have started on our cautious road to easing restrictions once and for all.”

One year ago, the PM shut the nation down, telling everyone to stay at home to stop the spread of the virus which had already started to rip through Britain.

England has now had three national lockdowns, with shops shut, people told to stay home and ditch plans to see friends, family and colleagues.

Those lockdowns have lasted for nearly half of the last year – with some other areas having been in local lockdowns for even longer.

It came as the PM warned a third Covid wave in Europe would “wash up on our shores”, but hailed our jabs success and national spirit.

He also called for calm amid barmy EU threats of a vaccine export ban on the UK.

The PM personally phoned Brussels leaders to urge them to dial down the rhetoric in the supply row.

As the EU splintered over whether to seize AstraZeneca doses coming to the UK, ministers privately warned they would have no choice but to retaliate on jab ingredients flowing to the continent.

Boris declared he could “bash on” with his route to freedom thanks to our jabs success.

But the stakes could not be higher, with Mr Johnson issuing a stark warning last night of the third wave sweeping the continent.


The PM told reporters: “Previous experience has taught us that when a wave hits our friends, I’m afraid it washes up on our shores as well and expect we will feel those effects in due course.”

He spent yesterday and Sunday attempting to calm tensions with Brussels after the EU doubled down on commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s jabs blockade threat amid its own bungled plans.

In a coded threat Britain could retaliate, he insisted the vaccines “require international co-operation”.

But last night, he said: “I am reassured by talking to EU partners over the last few months that they don’t want to see blockades, and that is very, very important.”

 

But there were some signs Mr Johnson’s efforts were working as a noisy rebellion from other countries over the export ban plan grew.

Irish PM Micheal Martin said it risks other countries blocking vital supplies to Europe.

An EU official added that Britain was “not to blame” for the stand-off with AstraZeneca over vaccine supplies.

 

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