What is a 'circuit-breaker' lockdown and will it be introduced in England?

19 October 2020, 14:10

Will a circuit-breaker lockdown be introduced in England?
Will a circuit-breaker lockdown be introduced in England? Picture: PA

England is currently subject to a tiered lockdown system - but will this change?

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a tiered lockdown system for England.

The new model of 'Local Covid Alert Levels' was introduced to simplify the lockdown rules in the country, and will see different areas placed into different categories depending on the infection rate.

Read more: Matt Hancock announces London, Essex and other Covid-19 hotspots will move to Tier 2 restrictions

The new levels are medium (tier one), high (tier two), and very high (tier three).

However, Mr Johnson has faced some calls to introduce a national 'circuit-breaker' national lockdown for half term, including from Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer.

Today (Monday 19 October), Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that Wales would be adopting a circuit breaker lockdown, with the public told to stay at home, for 17 days from Friday.

There has been no suggestion that England will follow suit, however.

Liverpool is currently in lockdown tier three
Liverpool is currently in lockdown tier three. Picture: PA

What is a 'circuit-breaker' lockdown?

A circuit-breaker lockdown has not been confirmed in England, but it could see the whole country adopt similar lockdown measures to earlier this year, with pubs asked to close and socialising with anyone outside your household banned.

People may also be told to work from home where possible and only use public transport if necessary.

It would likely be in place for a two to three weeks.

The idea of a circuit breaker lockdown would to to interrupt the flow of the virus and allow for a longer-term plan to be put into place, reports the Telegraph.

Read more: New coronavirus rates show which areas in England could move to stricter Tier 2 and 3 lockdown

Boris Johnson is under pressure to introduce a circuit-breaker national lockdown
Boris Johnson is under pressure to introduce a circuit-breaker national lockdown. Picture: PA

Will England adopt a circuit-breaker lockdown?

The government have stated that they're keen to avoid another national lockdown similar to the one adopted in March.

According to reports, Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) recommended the measure last month. Keir Starmer has also backed the move.

However, Mr Johnson defended his lockdown strategy during Prime Minister's Questions, stating: "The whole point is to seize this moment now to avoid the misery of another national lockdown - into which he wants to go headlong - by delivering a regional solution."

According to the Telegraph, a decision regarding a circuit-breaker lockdown will be made toward the end of next week.

If it went ahead, it would coincide with the October half term, which begins on Monday 26 October.


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