The prime minister said during a trip to North Yorkshire on Thursday that “we’re not out of the woods” as he warned the public of a resurgence in the coronavirus pandemic.
Johnson said: “It’s absolutely vital as a country that we continue to keep our focus and our discipline and that we don’t delude ourselves that somehow we’re out of the woods or that this is all over, because it isn’t all over.”
During an interview with Sky News, the PM praised the efforts of people tackling a spike in cases up and down the country. He said the best way to keep the virus under control was if we had “tough swift and decisive lockdowns” in order to protect the whole of the UK.
The latest data from NHS Digital shows the places with the highest number of cases per 100,000 people are:
Blackburn with Darwen (85.3)
Johnson added cases of the virus were coming down in Leicester, which was the first place in the country to be put under a local lockdown.
On Thursday, the government delayed the decision on whether to lift the local lockdown in the city.
The mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby, expressed his frustration at the delay saying: “We haven’t got a clue what’s going on.”
Ministers are growing increasingly concerned a second wave of the virus is growing in across Europe.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday morning he was “worried” about figures showing an increase in cases across the continent.
On Thursday, Johnson defended his government’s handling of the pandemic as it emerged the UK had the highest excess deaths across Europe over the first half of 2020.
Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour's shadow health secretary, described the news as "a devastating moment".
"Every life lost is a tragedy and leaves behind grieving families," he added.
Ashworth called on the PM to take responsibility for “why we were so badly prepared” and to outline the plan in case of a second wave of the virus.
"We can no longer hide from the fact the government has not handled this crisis well and needs to urgently learn lessons from its mistakes.
Earlier Labour MP Neil Coyle criticised the government’s attempt to shift blame for an increase onto Europe, saying the UK’s problems were ‘homegrown’.
The news comes as the government extended the amount of time a person needs to self isolate after developing coronavirus symptoms from seven days to 10.
The decision to extend the isolation period has moved the UK’s policy in line with the World Health Organization’s advice.
Scientists have known for some time that people can remain infectious for as long as seven to nine days after coming down with symptoms.
The decision was agreed by the four chief medical officers of the UK, who said in a statement that the changes were “particularly important to protect those who have been shielding and in advance of the autumn and winter when we may see increased community transmission”.
On Wednesday, scientists at Cambridge University said they believed the closely watched R rate is above 1 in some parts of the UK.
They concluded it was “very likely” that most areas on the UK had an R rate close to or over 1, which is the point the virus begins to spread exponentially.
Coronavirus: what happened today