England set for another virus lockdown
Published : Saturday, 31 October, 2020 at 9:53 PM Count : 129
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering imposing a new lockdown across England within days following warnings his localised restrictions strategy has failed to curb soaring coronavirus rates, reports said Saturday.
Johnson is expected to announce on Monday the stringent new rules closing all but “essential” stores, while keeping schools, colleges and universities open, The Times said.
The measures could come into effect as early as Wednesday and last until December 1, though no final decisions have yet been reached, it added.
Johnson is set to discuss the situation over the weekend with senior advisers and ministers and hold a cabinet meeting on Sunday to sign off on any final decisions, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The prospect of another nationwide lockdown comes after top scientific advisers said the virus was spreading significantly faster than their most dire predictions.
Documents released Friday from an October 8 meeting of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) included warnings that infections and hospitalisations were “exceeding the reasonable worst-case scenario planning levels”.
The worst-case scenario, made in July, had predicted 85,000 more people could die during the winter wave of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, in its weekly study of Covid-19 prevalence also published Friday, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said it “continued to rise steeply”, with the number of people infected increasing to around one in 100 nationwide.
The pandemic has hit Britain harder than any other country in Europe, more than 46,000 people having died within 28 days of testing positive and the country set to cross the 1 million case threshold on Saturday.
Some European countries and the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already reimposed partial lockdowns to try to cut their surging rates.