Boris Johnson is set to hold a Downing Street coronavirus press conference at 5pm today.

The Prime Minister is expected to speak for the first time in two weeks at his new £2.6m media studio in No9 Downing Street.

The studio fell silent during a "national mourning" period for Prince Philip's death, despite rising fears over new variants of Covid.

Ministers yesterday admitted 557 cases of the South Africa variant and 103 of the India variant have been found in the UK to date.

Both have seen some "community transmission" - meaning they did not have obvious links to international travel.

Travel from India will finally be banned from 4am on Friday as cases surge on the subcontinent, with New Delhi in lockdown.

The Prime Minister is expected to speak for the first time in two weeks at his new £2.6m media studio
The Prime Minister is expected to speak for the first time in two weeks at his new £2.6m media studio

The country of 1.4billion people will become the 40th on the 'red list', from which only UK residents can travel but must quarantine in a £1,750 hotel.

It is not known which part of the Covid response the Prime Minister will focus on in today's press conference.

It is too early to know if cases are ticking up due to the major 'Step Two' roadmap unlocking last Monday - when beer gardens, hairdressers and non-essential shops reopened in England.

However, the Prime Minister could welcome plummeting figures on coronavirus deaths.

Just four new UK deaths were recorded on Sunday, the day of the week when reported deaths tend to be much lower. The rolling weekly average is now 22 deaths per day - down from well over 1,000 at the peak.

It also comes after the UK passed 10million second vaccine doses for the elderly and vulnerable.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed the milestone yesterday, saying uptake of the jab is 94% among over-50s as a whole.

And he highlighted research suggesting the vaccine rollout has already prevented 10,000 deaths up to the end of March.

Mr Hancock told MPs: “Three quarters of over 75s have now had both jabs, rising to four fifths of over-80s.

The vaccine rollout has already reportedly prevented 10,000 deaths
The vaccine rollout has already reportedly prevented 10,000 deaths

“The vaccine is our way out of this pandemic and I’m delighted it’s being taken up in such huge numbers.”

But he said take-up was still below 80% among care home staff in more than half of council areas. A consultation is under way on making the vaccine mandatory for most care home staff and “we’ll consider all options”, Mr Hancock said.

The PM is likely to face questions meanwhile on the lobbying scandal engulfing the government, and on the crisis facing football with the formation of a Super League.

Mr Johnson has answered precious few questions on the Greensill row due to the national mourning period for Prince Philip.

He has also vowed to block the European Super League, saying Britain should show the proposed league a red card. But he has not yet spelt out exactly how that will happen.