Will there be a two week 'mini' national lockdown in October?
21 September 2020, 13:04
Half term lockdown: some reports have suggested the UK could be heading for a 'mini lockdown' this October.
In response to a surge in coronavirus cases, the government has implemented a number of local lockdowns in the country - and is is thought that more could be on the way.
Parts of the North East of England - including Newcastle, Sunderland and County Durham - are already in lockdown, while areas of Lancashire, Merseyside, the Midlands and West Yorkshire will join this week.
There are also reports that London could impose its own local lockdown in the coming week.
The government is also said to be considering a two-week national 'mini lockdown' in October. Here's what we know so far.
Is England heading for a two-week lockdown?
While a second national lockdown hasn't been confirmed, the government haven't ruled out the possibility.
According to the Financial Times, experts from the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) have put forward the idea of a two week national lockdown in October - that could minimise the amount of school time kids would miss.
A SAGE member told the paper: "As schools will be closed for one week at half-term, adding an extra week to that will have limited impact on education".
Matt Hancock spoke about the potential for a second national lockdown on Monday 21 September, saying that it would be 'different to the first' if it were to go ahead.
Speaking to Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on This Morning, he said: "if we do have to take action, it will be different to last time".
The Health Secretary added that they have learnt a huge amount about the virus and how to "tackle" it.
He added: "The main thing we've learnt is that where people catch the disease tends to be in social settings, people coming round to your house, or you going out and socialising essentially."
"We've seen relatively few cases caught through schools, and people at work – schools have got huge procedures in place to keep schools safe, and the return to school has gone really well."
He hinted that socialising could be impacted by a potential lockdown, adding: "The really sad thing about this virus is that it thrives on the things that make life worth living, the socialising, especially, when people get close to each other, that's when it tends to pass on."
"I want to make sure we avoid the kind of lockdown we saw last time."
Mr Hancock previously said that a second national lockdown would be the 'last line of defence', adding: "As we saw in the spring, it is the thing that we can do to keep people safe if that's needed.
"So we're watching vigilantly, but we can see the number of cases accelerating, and we're prepared to do what it takes both to protect lives and to protect livelihoods, and of course, both are so important."