Home Secretary Priti Patel will lead a Downing Street press conference tonight.

Ms Patel will be accompanied by Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, and Dr Vin Diwakar, NHS England regional medical director for London.

She is expected to speak about the lockdown rules when she addresses the nation at 5pm.

It comes as the UK saw its deadliest day in the pandemic.

Official figures showed that January 12 saw the highest number of deaths take place on a single day – with 1,110 Covid-19 fatalities, surpassing the previous peak of 1,073 on April 8, 2020.

The Prime Minister described the figures as “appalling” and warned “there will be more to come”, saying we are seeing the result of the new variant that spread rapidly just before Christmas.

Boris Johnson warned that the new coronavirus strain is “much more contagious” when questioned whether the lockdown may not be eased until the summer.

The Prime Minister told reporters: “I think it’s too early to say when we’ll be able to lift some of the restrictions.

“We’ll look then (February 15) at how we’re doing but I think what we’re seeing in the ONS data, in the React survey, we’re seeing the contagiousness of the new variant that we saw arrive just before Christmas – there’s no doubt it does spread very fast indeed.

“It’s not more deadly but it is much more contagious and the numbers are very great.”

He said it is “absolutely crucial” to obey the current restrictions “in what is unquestionably going to be a tough few weeks ahead”.