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17 September 2020, 10:18
Will pubs in the UK close again and will things close at 10pm? Here's what we know...
With new local lockdown rules coming into force across the North East, now government ministers have suggested we could be set for another lockdown in the UK.
But will pubs be forced to close down again as coronavirus cases rise? And will there be a 10pm curfew? Here’s what we know…
It’s been claimed that Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty is calling for another total lockdown in the UK to avoid a second spike of coronavirus, meaning pubs would have to shut down.
Former World Health Organisation director Anthony Costello said Mr Whitty is pushing for the strict measures amid fears infection numbers could be as high as 38,000 per day.
Mr Costello, who sits on the independent SAGE panel, tweeted: “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.”
But there has seemingly been some confusion from the government, as health minister Edward Argar has said he is unaware of the reports.
When asked about a lockdown by Sky News, he replied: “It is not something I have seen within the department.
“The Prime Minister has been very clear on this. He doesn’t want to see another national lockdown. He wants to see people abiding by the regulations and making the local lockdowns work.”
He also told the BBC: “I don’t think we are at a place where we would wish to see or need to see a national level of restrictions.”
Professor Costello later followed up his tweet this morning saying he was told by a different insider that Professor Whitty ‘does not support’ a two-week lockdown.
This comes after government officials suggested the country could see a curfew of 10pm if the ‘rule of six’ doesn’t work within two weeks.
On Monday the ‘rule of six’ came into force which bans people from meeting indoors and outdoors in groups larger than six people.
But if this fails to work, ministers are reportedly considering shutting pubs early in order to avoid a second wave.
According to ITV, the government is contemplating ‘pretty much every social distancing measure’ other than school closures.
A leading scientific advisor told them: “Lockdown is the only thing that we know works, to be frank.
“I think that if we want to keep schools open, we probably have to give serious consideration to a wide range of other measures to stop a major second wave.
“And we have to think about doing that right now – which we are starting to do.”
Meanwhile, stricter measures are expected to be announced in North East England later today following a spike in cases similar to that in the North West.
In a Commons statement, Matt Hancock will reportedly announce a ban in the region on socialising with people from different households and a 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants as of Friday.
The new lockdown rules are set to apply in Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland.