Friday, 30 Oct 2020

Latest on whether there will be a second lockdown as coronavirus R-rate rises

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The Government has increased the lockdown restrictions in several places around the country as coronavirus cases surge – but will there be a national one?

New local coronavirus lockdown rules have been announced in parts of the North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday: "We are seeing cases of coronavirus rise fast in Lancashire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, Warrington, Halton and Wolverhampton.

"Local leaders in these areas have asked for stronger restrictions to be put in place to protect local people, and we are acting decisively to support them.

"I know these restrictions will make every-day life harder for many, but I know that residents will work together and respect the rules so we can reduce rates of transmission.”

Regulations and guidance differ by area, but will all come into force from Tuesday.

The R number is now believed to be as high as 1.4 in the UK. The higher R is above 1, the faster the epidemic is growing.

This has prompted fears of an uncontrollable second wave which would inevitably be followed by another national lockdown.

Will there be a second lockdown?

There are currently no plans for a widespread second lockdown.

This is something the Government will be keen to avoid given the consequences it has had for the country.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I don't want a second national lockdown – I think it would be completely wrong for this country and we are going to do everything in our power to prevent it.”

He has also said that its impact on the economy would be “disastrous”.

Mr Hancock has also said that another lockdown would be “the last line of defence”.

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Instead they will continue to use local lockdowns as a way of limiting the spread of Covid-19 where there are outbreaks.

But he also added that it was “something that we never take off the table”.

It’s been reported that Professor Chris Whitty wants a two-week national lockdown.

This would coincide with half-term to create minimal disruption to schools.

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Anthony Costello, a former director of maternal, child and adolescent health at the WHO, said on Twitter: "I'm hearing from a well-connected person that Government now thinks, in absence of testing, there are 38,000 infections per day.

“Chris Whitty is advising PM for a two-week national lockdown."

However, he later corrected himself by saying: “I've been told by another insider I respect that Chris Whitty does not support a two-week lockdown, so I'm pleased to correct the record.”

Meanwhile, Prof Whitty has not responded to the claims.

At the moment Brits can’t meet up in groups larger than six.

Senior Government sources have said that the “rule of six” will be reassessed in two weeks.

If coronavirus infections have not been brought down, further lockdown restrictions may be introduced.

  • Boris Johnson
  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown

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