THE Prime Minister will hold a press conference later today, on the first day of the new national lockdown he announced last night.

Boris Johnson will be flanked by Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance at the press conference, which is scheduled to take place in Downing Street at 5pm.

The briefing will come less than 24 hours after the Prime Minister made a live public address to the nation on television announced that England would be entering a third period of national restrictions to try and contain Covid-19, which has been spreading out of control in recent weeks.

The Government's tiered system failed to keep infections down, fuelled by a new, more infectious variant of the virus, forcing Mr Johnson to bring in national restrictions which will last until mid-February.

During the next several weeks, all non-essential retail shops have been forced to close, people have been ordered to stay at home as much as possible, gyms, golf courses and organised sport and leisure have been banned, and schools have been told to close and switch to online learning less than two days after Mr Johnson said schools were safe.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said the Prime Minister has "acted decisively", despite the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) calling for schools ot close and a lockdown to be enforced on December 22, Labour calling for schools to be shut and a lockdown over the weekend, and unions expressing their concerns over the safety of teachers and support staff for days.

Following the Prime Minister's press conference, the Leader of the Opposition, Labour's Sir Keir Starmer, will give a televised statement at 7pm.