Boris Johnson is expected to announce new national restrictions for England, similar to the March lockdown, as the UK picture continues to look bleak. For the seventh consecutive day, the number of new cases recorded is above 50,000 – 58,784 on Monday, with 407 new deaths. In a televised address at 20:00 GMT, the PM is likely to urge the public to follow the new rules from midnight. The national Covid alert level has increased to five – its highest level – and pressure has been mounting on ministers, who admit England’s tier system is not strong enough to contain the new, more contagious variant. Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer is leading calls for imminent nationwide lockdowns like the ones in March, with the PM himself saying there is . Parliament is being recalled early from its Christmas break so as to be able to vote on any new measures on Wednesday.