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Boris Johnson set to launch five-tier warning system for easing lockdown restrictions

Boris Johnson will announce the new system during his TV address on Sunday evening (PA)

3 min read

Boris Johnson is preparing to launch a new five-tier warning system as part of his plans for easing lockdown restrictions.

The Prime Minister is expected to use his public address on Sunday evening to unveil the new system for tracking the spread of the virus as part of his "road map" for reopening the economy.

Mr Johnson will also use the appearance to drop the current "stay at home" slogan, with the new branding asking Brits to "stay alert, control the virus and save lives".

The alert system, which will be managed by the newly created 'Joint Biosecurity Center', will monitor the spread of the infection across the country, grading the outbreak from green at level one to red at level five.

The PM will tell the country that England is currently at level four but is moving towards level three, indicating that the infection is no longer spreading rapidly.

The system is also expected to take into account regional differences, meaning cities with more cases, such as London, could remain on a higher level of warning that less-affected regions.

Initially, the system will only cover England, with the devolved administrations working on similar schemes to be implemented in the coming weeks.

A 50-page document setting out further steps for reopening the economy is due to be published on Monday, with Mr Johnson putting his plans before MPs early next week.

But the initial stages could see some businesses, such as garden centres, reopening, while those who cannot work from home could be permitted to return to work if employers can ensure social distancing measures are followed in the workplace.

The announcement comes amid reports of a clash between Mr Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock over his department's response to the crisis.

According to the Mail on Sunday, Mr Hancock responded to a grilling from the Prime Minister on his work, saying: "That's not fair - give me a break".

A source told the paper that Mr Hancock was on "borrowed time" following a series of rows with other senior members of the Cabinet.

They added: "He has fallen out with the most powerful figures in the Government, from the Prime Minister down.

"Nothing will change immediately. But once we have beaten this thing, expect him to be moved."

But allies of the Health Secretary hit back at the report, saying Mr Johnson had praised him for doing an "amazing job in hellishly difficult circumstances".

The source said: "We've been working incredibly well with the PM and the whole No 10 team and have had nothing but total support from them."

Meanwhile, the Sun on Sunday reports that Mr Johnson will use his televised address to warn the nation it is entering the most "dangerous" phase of the fight against the virus.

Writing in the paper, Mr Johnson added: "We're past the peak now but we'll have to work even harder to get every step right.

"Mountaineers always say that coming down from the peak is the most dangerous bit. That's when you're liable to be over-confident and make mistakes.

"You have very few options on the climb up - but it's on the descent you have to make sure you don't run too fast, lose control and stumble."

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