THE Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to address the nation tonight on outlining steps to tackle the rise in Covid-19 cases currently affecting the UK.

He will make the televised address at 8pm, ahead of Parliament being recalled on Wednesday, Downing Street has said.

It comes as pressure has been mounting on the Government to take swift action to try and control Covid-19, as the virus has been spreading rapidly across the UK in recent weeks.

A No 10 spokesperson said: “The spread of the new variant of Covid-19 has led to rapidly escalating case numbers across the country.

“The Prime Minister is clear that further steps must now be taken to arrest this rise and to protect the NHS and save lives. He will set those out this evening.”

Cases of infections, hospital admissions and deaths have all climbed to some of the highest rates seen during the entire pandemic in recent weeks as the NHS struggles to cope with the pressure of the virus.

ITV's Robert Peston has said what he has been told will be covered in the statement.

He tweeted: "The Prime Minister will be directly addressing the nation.

"It won’t be a press conference. Tier 4 restrictions will be imposed everywhere.

"Schools closed. No more team games in parks. But outdoor exercise will still be allowed."

The announcement is being made one year to the day that the first cases of Covid-19 were reported to the World Health Organisation in Wuhan, China.

Responding to the announcement of the Prime Minister’s statement and the recall of Parliament, Labour leader Keir Starmer said: “I hope the Prime Minister has been listening to the clear calls for tough national restrictions.”

He said new measures were needed to “get the virus under control, protect the NHS and create the space for the vaccine to be rolled out as quickly as humanly possible”.

It also follows an announcement by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that north of the border in Scotland a national lockdown will begin on Monday earlier this afternoon, and just hours after the Prime Minister's spokesperson said the Government was going to "wait and see" how the latest changes to tiers were working to tackle the virus.

Earlier today former Health Secretary and current chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee Jeremy Hunt called for immediate action to be taken closing schools and borders and banning household mixing to control the virus, and said the current situation in hospitals was "off-the-scale worse" than any of the four winters he oversaw as Health Secretary.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has agreed to the Government’s request for the House to meet on Wednesday but urged MPs not to physically attend Parliament unless absolutely necessary.

In a message to MPs, Sir Lindsay said: “I am satisfied that the public interest does require such a recall and I have agreed that the House shall meet on Wednesday at 11.30am.

“As per my advice on the previous recall, I would strongly urge you NOT to physically come to Westminster to participate in any business unless absolutely necessary due to the current severe public health situation.

"Members’ staff should also be working from home and I have asked the House authorities to limit House staff on the estate to a bare minimum.”