Britain Contemplates Second National Lockdown as COVID-19 Surges

Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK

Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK

"We want to avoid a national lockdown, but we're prepared to do it if we need to", Health Secretary Matt Hancock told British media.

Asked about a second lockdown, he said: "I can't give you that answer now".

Asked by Sky News about the prospect of a second national lockdown next month, Mr Hancock said that was a last resort, but that the government would do whatever it takes to tackle the virus.

Ministers were on Friday reported to be considering a second national lockdown, after new COVID-19 cases nearly doubled to 6,000 per day, hospital admissions rose and infection rates soared across parts of northern England and London.

Face covering requirements and the "rule of six" limit on social gatherings are examples of existing national rules, so any extra measures will be on top of these.

He said the current approach was "targeted interventions" but "a national lockdown is the last line of defence".

Asked about the Financial Times report, Mr Hancock told Sky News' Kay Burley: "The last line of defence is full national action and I don't want to see that but we will do whatever is necessary to keep people safe in a very hard pandemic".

"And that is what we want to minimise and we want to protect people's livelihoods at the same time".

The reimposition of a lockdown would make the United Kingdom only the second advanced country in the world to do so, after Israel imposed a three-week closure for the Jewish holidays that began Friday afternoon.

"But what I would say this morning is the country once again needs to come together and recognise there is a serious challenge".

World Health Organization warns of a 'serious situation unfolding amid ''alarming rates' of infections
Hancock told Parliament that residents would be banned from socialising with others outside their households or support bubbles. The seven-day moving average of daily new infections has risen to more than 9,300, compared to a low of 272 at the end of May.

Responding to the news the government is considering possible further national restrictions, Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said it "clearly indicates that there is deep concern in government that we could be on the cusp of a deadly second spike". We want to avoid that. But he added: "I have learned over the last nine months not ever to rule anything out".

"However, it is not the proposal that's on the table".

Mr Hancock's remarks came amid reports a national lockdown is being planned to coincide with the October half term to minimise disruption to education. Hancock said the government's strategy is to suppress the virus while keeping schools and offices open before "the cavalry that's on the horizon of the vaccine and mass testing".

The restrictions could be put in place for two weeks, but the timing and duration of the measures has yet to be finalised.

Baroness Dido Harding - head of NHS Test and Trace - acknowledged demand was significantly outstripping capacity.

About 200,000 tests a day are being done now.

The country's test and trace system has been inundated, with data showing just one in three people in England are able to obtain the results of their tests within 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the Government is expected to announce tighter restrictions on care home visits in areas with high numbers of coronavirus cases.

"In the spring and early summer we were able to see the impact of strict lockdown measures".

COVID -19 cases began to increase once again in Britain in September, with in between 3,000 and 4,000 favorable tests taped daily in the recently, however that is still some method behind France and its more than 10,000 cases a day.

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