BORIS Johnson is still hopeful that life will be 'much closer to normal' by Christmas as he imposes new coronavirus rules on social gatherings.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference this afternoon, Wednesday, the Prime Minister announced the new 'rule of six' - a ban on any indoor or outdoor gathering of more than six people following a rise in coronavirus cases.

Larger gatherings will be allowed where the household or support bubble is larger than six, or where the gathering is for work, education purposes, in places of worship, weddings, funerals or team sports.

Failure to comply could result in a fine.

Warrington Guardian:

Asked if Christmas was now effectively cancelled because of the rise in cases, Mr Johnson said reducing social contact and increased rapid testing could help life get back on track before the end of the year.

"Whether we are going to get things back to normal at all by Christmas, I’m still hopeful, as I’ve said before, that in many ways we could be able to get some aspects of our lives back to normal by Christmas," he said.

"I talked just now about how you could do that.

"Through that Moonshot of daily testing – everybody gets a pregnancy-style test, a rapid turn-around test in the morning, 15 minutes later you know whether you are infectious or not.

"You may not know whether you are infected or not, but you know whether you are infectious or not, and that gives you a kind of passport, a freedom to mingle with everybody else who is similarly not infectious in a way that is currently impossible."

Further advancements to come out of the press conference include hospitality settings now being legally required to get contact details from customers and they must keep them on file for the NHS track and trace system.

Covid-secure marshalls in towns and city centres will also be introduced to help manage social distancing.