Scientists 'call for two-week national lockdown' next month to tackle coronavirus spike
18 September 2020, 07:45
Another lockdown is 'not off the table', says Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
As coronavirus cases rise across the UK, now chief scientists have reportedly proposed a two-week national lockdown next month.
According to the Financial Times, The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-m) have proposed this would coincide with the October half-term.
This is so children will not miss out on any time at school, but no final decision has been reached on the next course of action.
One SAGE scientist told the FT: "As schools will be closed for one week at half-term, adding an extra week to that will have limited impact on education".
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has since said this total lockdown is the "last line of defence" to save lives and protect the NHS.
When asked whether there will be blanket measures introduced, Mr Hancock said the government will be making further announcements today.
He added: "What I would say is that we really do need to come together to tackle this once again.
"We have got to take the necessary action to keep people safe number of people doubling.
"We will do what it takes to keep people safe we will do what is necessary lockdown is the last line of defence."
This comes amid a warning that the number of people in hospitals with Covid-19 have been ‘doubling’ every eight days for the past few weeks.
This comes after reports that Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty is also calling for a fortnight lockdown as cases are said to have risen to 38,000 a day.
The R rate - which shows the average number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to - has also crept up to 1.7.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that a lockdown would be ‘disastrous’, as he added: “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.
Meanwhile, up to 10 million Brits are already facing local lockdown measures across the UK.
As of today, most of the North East of England is banned from socialising with people from different households and there is a 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants.
The new lockdown rules are set to apply in Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland.