Two-Week National Lockdown In October Under Discussion By Ministers

Covid safety message

Covid safety message

"We know that a national lockdown works because it did last time, and we can see in the figures that this is a serious moment", the health secretary said.

The UK's next national lockdown could see workplaces and schools remain open.

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

Professor Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer and Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser, warned the prime minister at a meeting on on Wednesday evening that the disease was now doubling every seven to eight days.

The ONS said there had been clear evidence of an increase in the number of people testing positive aged 2 to 11 years, 17 to 24 years and 25 to 34 years.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday (18) that the country had "sadly seen that the number of people hospitalised with coronavirus is doubling about every eight days".

The health minister said a nationwide lockdown is "the last line of defense", and the government would prefer isolated, regional lockdowns.

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

The government's scientific advisors have advised a two-week national lockdown in October.

More than 10 million people in the United Kingdom are already in local lockdown. The North East was most recently locked down and Lancashire will be added too, with the exception of Blackpool.

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Tighter regulations on socialising are due to come into force from Friday in Northumberland, North and South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, and County Durham.

This comes as on Thursday the health minister announced new coronavirus restrictions on entertainment venues in England's north-east as of Friday amid a concerning rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.

"We're prepared to do what it takes both to protect lives and to protect livelihoods", Hancock told the BBC.

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.

Hancock urged British citizens to follow the "rule of six", with no public gatherings of more than six people; obey local restrictions in their area; and self-isolate if they have tested positive.

"We're seeing clear signs this virus is now spreading widely across all age groups and I am particularly anxious by the increase in rates of admission to hospital and intensive care among older people", said Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at Public Health England.

"This could be a warning of far worse things to come".

But he did not rule out further national restrictions being brought in.

Stay alert to stop coronavirus spreading - here is the latest government guidance.

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