Great Britain

Boris Johnson press conference: PM to make major address from No10 TODAY

Boris Johnson gives update on when lockdown will be reviewed

In a surprise announcement made this afternoon, Downing Street confirmed the Prime Minister would speak to the nation at 5pm this evening. No indication has been given as to why the briefing has suddenly been called, however, it comes less than 24 hours after false reports in the German media caused alarm by claiming the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was ineffective among over-65s.

Germany's financial newspaper Handelsblatt and the tabloid Bild both said they had spoken to officials who put the efficacy of the jab at eight percent.

However, the German health ministry has sought to distance itself from the claims.

The department said: "At first glance it seems that the reports have mixed up two things: about eight percent of those tested in the AstraZeneca efficacy study were between 56 and 69, only 3-4 percent were over 70."

The false claims risk spreading alarm across the UK and causing panic about the country's vaccine rollout.

READ MORE: Britons furious at 'typical foot-stamping' EU as vaccine spat erupts

Boris Johnson will address the nation at 5pm tonight

Boris Johnson will address the nation at 5pm tonight (Image: GETTY)

This morning Chief Scientific Adviser Sit Patrick Vallance reassured Ministers about the jabs at a Cabinet meeting.

The Prime Minister's spokesman said: "The Chief Scientific Adviser set out that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine remains both safe and effective and that trials showed similar immune responses in younger and older adults."

Professor Chris Whitty and NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens will join the Prime Minister for tonight's briefing.

The press conference also comes as the UK nears the horrific tally of 100,000 coronavirus deaths.

Up to and including yesterday 95,829 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

It means Britain is facing the grim prospect of surpassing 100,000 deaths in the coming days.

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Boris Johnson warned his Cabinet high death rates would continue for several weeks

Boris Johnson warned his Cabinet high death rates would continue for several weeks (Image: No10)

Sir Patrick Vallance said last week it was a 'concern' the Kent strain was more deadly

Sir Patrick Vallance said last week it was a 'concern' the Kent strain was more deadly (Image: No10)

Mr Johnson warned his Cabinet this morning the country would continue to see high death rates for a number of weeks.

His spokesman said: "The Prime Minister once again paying tribute to the British public for the sacrifices they continue to make in our fight against the virus.

"The Prime Minister highlighted that while we are now seeing signs of new case numbers reducing, we can anticipate that intense pressure in hospitals and high death rates will persist over the coming weeks, underlining the importance of continuing to follow the rules."

Britain has suffered a sharp rise in infections and deaths in the new year, fuelled partly by a new more highly contagious variant of the virus first identified in Kent.

Last Friday the Prime Minister used a press conference to say there was evidence to suggest the mutant strain was more deadly.

Up until then while it was known the Kent variation was up to 70 percent more transmissible, it was not thought to be responsible for a higher number of deaths.

But speaking last week Mr Johnson said: "I must tell you this afternoon that we've been informed today that in addition to spreading more quickly it also now appears that there is some evidence the new variant, the variant that was first identified in London and the South East, may be associated with a higher degree of mortality."

The UK's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said the new information was a "concern".

He said: "I want to stress that there's a lot of uncertainty around these numbers and we need more work to get a precise handle on it, but it obviously is of concern that this has an increase in mortality as well as an increase in transmissibility, as it appears of today."

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