Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make a televised address tonight outlining the steps to tackle the rise in coronavirus cases, with Parliament set to be recalled to sit on Wednesday, Downing Street has said.

The Prime Minister’s televised address will take place at 8pm on Monday, replacing Eastenders, which was set to air at 8:05pm.

On social media the BBC moved to confirm that the popular soap will still be aired tonight at the later time of 8:35pm. 

The official Eastenders account tweeted: "#EastEnders will now be on at 8:35pm tonight, following the government briefing."

Fans of the BBC soap took to social media to question what would happen to tonight’s instalment after Friday’s show ended with Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) opening up to his wife Linda (Kellie Bright) in the New Year’s Day episode.

One Twitter user said: "Tell Boris to do his announcement after eastenders!!!"

“Is nothing sacred,” said another.

With the BBC soap set to start at the later time of 8:35pm it means it will be in direct competition if ITV's Coronation Street as the second episode starts at 8:30pm on ITV1.

The timing of tonights Eastenders episode is subject to change due to news coverage of Boris Johnson's announcement.

A No 10 spokesman said that the move was in response to the “rapidly escalating” numbers of infections following the emergence of the new variant.

The statement, to be made at 8pm on Monday, will be followed by the recall of Parliament on Wednesday so MPs can debate the measures.

A No 10 spokesman said: “The spread of the new variant of Covid-19 has led to rapidly escalating case numbers across the country.

“The Prime Minister is clear that further steps must now be taken to arrest this rise and to protect the NHS and save lives.”