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Boris Johnson vowed there was "light at the end of the tunnel" and that England would come out of the second lockdown – which started today – on December 2 as he hailed recent scientific advances in the fight against coronavirus.
Speaking from No.10 Downing Street, the PM said: "There is light at the end of the tunnel. We have better treatments and techniques to take care of those in hospital, thanks largely to the ingenuity of British scientists.
"Rapid testing is being rolled out on a massive scale with city-wide testing starting tomorrow in Liverpool and i am hugely grateful to the people of Liverpool for their partcipation in this pilot.
"I hope that by working together we can get that great city on top of the virus."
The PM also said leaders of all four of the home nations were aware of the challenges around Christmas this year, and were working to minimise disruption to families' festive seasons.
Also speaking at the press conference was NHS England Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens, who spoke about rising hospital pressures that had seen hospitals fill with Covid patients over the last month.
Speaking to the BBC’s Today Programme on November 4, Sir Simon said the NHS is treating a number of desperately sick people which had rocketed from 2,000 at the beginning of October to just under 11,000 as of Wednesday.
Sir Simon said the NHS wants to "minimise" coronavirus "spiralling out of control" so other services are not disrupted.
He said: "We began early September with under 500 coronavirus patients in hospitals. By the beginning of October that had become 2,000. As of today that is just under 11,000.
"So, put another way, we’ve got 22 hospitals’ worth of coronavirus patients across England. And indeed, even since Saturday, when the Prime Minister gave his press conference, we filled another two hospitals full of severely ill coronavirus patients."
Sir Simon has also previously promised to get GP practices across the country "geared up" by Christmas if the vaccine is available by then, but said it is likely "one or more" will become "available from the first part of next year."
The stark figures come as Brits begin a month-long second lockdown in England in a bid to control the virus and keep the NHS from being overwhelmed.
Mr Johnson announced the lockdown on Halloween, two days earlier than planned, after an internal leak led to information being published in three key national newspapers.
Speaking from Downing Street, he told the country a second lockdown was vital and introduced measures similar to that in the March lockdown.
From November 5 to December 2, Brits will not be allowed to leave there homes except for specific reasons and all non-essential businesses, including retail shops, restaurants, pubs and bars will be closed.
- Boris Johnson
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