Boris Johnson to hold Covid press conference TODAY amid concerns over Indian variant


BORIS Johnson will hold a Covid press conference this afternoon amid concerns over the spread of the Indian variant of Covid.

The PM is expected to appear in Downing St at 5pm to update the nation on the latest about the jabs drive and the fight against the pandemic.

Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates

Boris Johnson will hold a press conference this afternoon

His speech will come after ministers slapped India on the travel red list over concerns about the spread of a “double mutant” variant.

The UK has now fully vaccinated more than 10m people, but there are concerns the new strain could be resistant to the current set of jabs.

And ahead of the press conference Boris urged Brits to stick with the Covid rules so the planned reopening of pubs indoors on May 17 can go ahead.

He enjoyed his first post-lockdown pint yesterday as the nation looks forward to a balmy week on beer gardens and pub terraces.

The PM’s face said it all as he was able to sip on a beer outside during a visit to The Mount pub and restaurant in Wolverhampton.

In a video message afterwards, he said: “I know that across the country millions of people have been able to enjoy some of the freedoms that we’ve seen coming back since step 2 on April 12.

“And we’re going forward cautiously but irreversibly towards step 3 on May 17 with more openings and the opening up of indoor hospitality we hope.

“We can do that partly because of the rollout of the vaccination programme which continues to be very successful.

“But it’s also very important to understand our success is determined as well and very largely by the discipline of the lockdown and the discipline with which everybody has continued to follow sensible measures to prevent transmission of the virus.”

Pubs were allowed to reopen last Monday in England, with people flocking to get their first tastes of freedom once again.

But the PM had to cancel his much-desired drink last week after Prince Philip died the week before.

Government went into a period of mourning ahead of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, which took place on Saturday.

Boris Johnson enjoyed his first post-lockdown pint yesterday

The PM urged Brits to stick with the rules as the country reopens

The PM is also set to field questions at his press conference about how the Government plans to stop the new European Super League breakaway of top English football clubs.

Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur have all signed up to the rogue competition.

The PM will host crisis talks with football’s governing bodies and fans’ groups today to plot a way to stop the new division in its tracks.

And today education secretary Gavin Williamson insisted ministers are ready to slap “sanctions” on those teams involved.

No 10 wants to force the six English clubs to “back down” and ditch the plans before it is forced to intervene.

But if they don’t ministers are considering radical measures to clamp down on the European Super League and make it impossible to run.

They could include bringing in new laws mandating German-style fan ownership of clubs and limiting business tycoons to minority shareholders.

Officials are also looking at how they could use visa laws to ban those clubs involved from signing foreign players.

And police support for crowd-control at matches could be withdrawn.

Gavin Williamson said the Government is ready to slap sanctions on Super League clubs

Mr Williamson said: “This Super League must be stopped because it’s just simply not fair, it’s not right.

“Football is rooted in the communities that clubs have grown up in and it’s there for the fans.

“This seems to have been dreamed up by moneymen as against football fans and that’s why the PM is so opposed to it.

The education secretary said the Government will be “putting all our support behind the FA and UEFA” as they battle to stop the breakaway.

He insisted: “That’s the preferred option and we’d hope these clubs step back from the proposals they’ve put forward.”

But he added “if they’re not successful in doing that we won’t hesitate to take further steps to ensure this European Super League won’t go ahead”.

Pressed further, he said: “We’d look at every single option. You cannot be clearer about the Government’s commitment to ensure this doesn’t proceed.

“The Government reserves its position to take any action that’s required including the need to take legislation, the need to take sanctions, in order to ensure we protect football interests in this country.”

Mr Williamson also insisted yesterday’s decision to place India on the travel red-list was necessary to protect the vaccination drive here.

And he defended the fact the ban on most arrivals and hotel quarantine requirements for the rest won’t come into force until 4am on Friday.

He said: “It’s standard practice to give people a short window in order to be able to manage their affairs. It’s the right thing to do.”