The prime minister is leading a press conference about the government’s new Covid-19 winter plan, which will divide England into tough three tiers of restrictions.

Addressing the nation, Boris Johnson has stressed that the country is "not out of the woods yet" but hailed the recent scientific breakthroughs of Covid vaccines.

He said: "We can hear the drumming hooves of the cavalry coming over the brow of the hill, but they're not here yet.

"Even if all three vaccines are approved, even if the production timetables are met it will be months before we can be sure that we inoculated everyone that needs a vaccine, and those months will be hard, they will be cold and they include January and February, when the NHS is under its greatest strain."

The prime minister said the government will utilise “tiering, testing and the rolling out of vaccines” to protect the population over Christmas.

Speaking about Christmas, he said: "This is not the moment to let the virus rip for the sake of Christmas parties.

"It is the season to be jolly but it’s also the season to be jolly careful, especially with elderly relatives."

Mr Johnson said there are no plans to close schools a week early so children can safely visit elderly relatives over Christmas.

“We believe education is of huge importance, we want to keep kids in school as much as we can,” he said.