‘Don’t let your country down’, PM warns public before ‘Super Saturday’

Boris Johnson has urged the public to not let the country down, hours before coronavirus restrictions are eased on what has been named ‘Super Saturday’.

Pubs, restaurants, cinemas and hairdressers in England have all been given the green light to open tomorrow – but fears are rife the changes could spur a spike in Covid-19 cases, as the official death toll passes 44,000.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference today, the prime minister said the public needed to focus on ‘supporting the livelihoods of businesses across country’ – but needed to do so ‘responsibility’.

The Tory leader said businesses and workers had put in a ‘heroic effort’ to prepare for July 4 and the success of their livelihood, the economy and whole country was dependent on everyone following social distancing rules.

He added: ‘The virus is still with us and the spike in Leicester has shown that – if it starts running out of control again this Government will not hesitate in putting on the brakes and reimposing restrictions.’

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Police bosses have warned there are not enough officers to handle the carnage expected to take place tomorrow.

John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation in England and Wales, has expressed concern, calling Saturday a ‘perfect storm’.

He told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: ‘To ease the lockdown – which I completely understand, businesses have to survive and the economy must grow and I accept that – but to announce this easing of lockdown on a Saturday has created almost a countdown to carnival.

‘I am deeply concerned we are going to see real big problems on that day when people are trying to get into pubs and bars and restaurants, drinking – alcohol causes an awful lot of problems for us to have to try and pick up the pieces.

Meanwhile, hospitals have been told to prepare as if ‘it’s New Year’s Eve’, as staff await a surge in A&E admissions.

Emails from NHS officials to hospital trusts ask them to ‘ensure that your demand/activity planning reflects a busy weekend, with peaks in activity into the evenings similar to that of New Years’s Eve’, according to the Health Service Journal and the Evening Standard.

It comes after the government confirms pubs can open at 6am tomorrow after more than three months of closures.

Some landlords had planned to throw open their doors as the clock struck midnight on July 4, but new government regulations prohibit pub-goers from having their first pint until after sunrise.

All pubs still must adhere to licensing laws and it will depend on the licence that each pub has as to when they can serve alcohol.

People living in England have also been given the go-ahead to travel abroad to 73 countries from July 10.

This is a breaking news story – more follows.

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