The Prime Minister made a series of key statements on a variety of issues yesterday, from Brazil’s new variant of Covid to returning students to schools.
Boris Johnson appeared before the House of Commons Liaison Committee on Wednesday afternoon.
He has made a number of important announcements on issues such as a new variant of the Brazilian coronavirus, whether our intensive care units can cope and whether restrictions could be relaxed in mid-February, Hull Live Reports.
Here’s a look at what he had to say on the key issues.
What do you think of what Boris said? Let us know in the comments below
Intensive care units
Boris Johnson has warned that there is a very significant risk of intensive care units overflowing.
He told MPs: If you ask me when do we think the ICU’s capacity will likely be exceeded, I cannot give you a prediction on that.
But all I can say is the risk is very significant and we need to keep the pressure on the NHS and the only way to do that is to follow the current lockdown.
He told the Commons Liaison Committee that the situation is really very difficult in the NHS and the pressure is colossal on the staff.
Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has asked whether the UK should ban flights from Brazil due to the discovery of a new variant of Covid.
Mr Johnson said: We are concerned about the new Brazilian variant, he told MPs.
We already have tough measures … to protect this country against new infections from abroad.
We are taking steps to do so with respect to the Brazilian variant.
There are a lot of questions that we still have about this variant, for example we don’t know, nor do we know if the South African variant is resistant to vaccines.
Will schools reopen after the February semester?
Boris Johnson has suggested schools may not reopen after the February semester, but said the priority is to reopen them as soon as possible.
The Prime Minister told the Liaison Committee: The priority is that if we can achieve what we want with the immunization program, the priority is obviously to open schools as soon as possible.
Whether we can do this after the mid-term break in mid-February, whether we can start doing it, depends on a number of things.
He said it depended on the success of vaccination programs or the discovery of vaccine-resistant variants.
His reaction to the free school meals scandal
Boris Johnson said the companies providing the much-criticized free school lunch offers to families had been carried over to the coals.
The Prime Minister, responding to a question from the Chairman of the Special Education Committee, Robert Halfon, to the Liaison Committee, said: You are right to be clearly outraged by the images we have seen.
And the companies in question – or certainly one of the most notorious images, the company responsible for this, and others – were transported to the coals and asked to explain how it happened.
They apologized and reimbursed the affected schools and pledged not to start over.
I must point out that the pictures do not reflect current government guidelines, which are about double the amount of food for the five-day packed lunches you’ve seen, if not more.
Boris Johnson said some free school lunch packages were an outrage and a disgrace, but insisted they did not reflect government guidelines.
Performance test and trace
Mr Johnson defended the NHS test and trace operation, saying: They carried out 56 million tests.
And that’s an astonishing number. I think it is the highest in Europe.
The Prime Minister said there would be greater information sharing between the NHS and local authorities from this week.
By the end of this week, I want local government public health directors to know who is vaccinated in their communities.
As we move forward, it will be critical that local authorities know who has been vaccinated and can lead the fight in their area.
Vaccines for black and minority ethnic communities
Boris Johnson said there was a big, big flow of vaccines coming and raised concerns that some members of black and minority ethnic communities might be difficult to reach.
The Prime Minister told the Commons Liaison Committee: This government has achieved a greater supply of vaccines, I think both absolutely and per capita, than virtually any other country in the world.
So we have a really big vaccine flow coming up, but there is also a program to speed up the delivery of the vaccine from Oxford, the remaining Pfizer vaccine is being presented, the Moderna vaccine as well, were doing everything we could to move the process forward. production as quickly as possible.
He said it was vital for the NHS to share data on those vaccinated.
About Donald Trump
Boris Johnson has defended having a close relationship with Donald Trump, as the US president is on the verge of being impeached for the second time.
Petitions Committee Chair Catherine McKinnell asked the Prime Minister: Given recent events, do you regret saying in 2018 that Donald Trump deserves a Nobel Peace Prize?
Mr Johnson replied: I am in favor of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom having the best possible relationship with the President of the United States and I had a great conversation very recently with President-elect Joe Biden.
On the number of vaccines
Some 2.8 million coronavirus vaccines have been given, Boris Johnson said, as he pledged to be as transparent as possible about vaccine data.
He told the Liaison Committee: It’s reasonable that as soon as we get good regional data, for example, we should share it as well.
Regional breakdowns were to be released later this week.
Mr Johnson said in the North East and Yorkshire more than 50% of those over 80 had been vaccinated.
Social protection plan
A social protection plan will be released later this year, Boris Johnson confirmed.
The Prime Minister said: The pandemic has exposed the difficulties in the social care sector – it clearly needs reform and needs to be improved.
But there’s also the issue of people being forced to sell their homes to pay for their care and that’s something we want to address and will bring forward plans for later this year.
He said the social service sector should have a long-term plan.