Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020

Could there be a second lockdown in England?

Boris Johnson is coming under increasing pressure to implement tougher coronavirus curbs in the UK, after the death toll from the virus reached its highest figure since May.

Currently England is under a three-tier system, with restrictions varying according to the level of cases in different regions, but elsewhere in the UK stronger restrictions are in force – with Northern Ireland and Wales having implemented circuit break style lockdowns to try and bring the infection rate down.

As cases continue to rise across the country, and across Europe, could a second lockdown be on the cards?

Here’s what we know so far…

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Could there be a second lockdown in England?

Boris Johnson has previously said he does not want to put the country back into another national lockdown – having said he and his government ‘are going to do everything in our power to prevent’ a national lockdown, as he believes it would be ‘disastrous’ for the economy.

However it has been reported that a fourth tier of restrictions could be introduced in certain areas in England, if the current tier system fails to bring down the rate of infection.

That tier could have restrictions similar to those from the national lockdown, with restaurants and non-essential shops forced to close and travel outside the region banned rather than discouraged.

Professor Neil Ferguson, who orchestrated the nationwide lockdown in March, has also said that schools could close again for older students if a fourth tier lockdown was implemented.

Meanwhile Health Secretary Matt Hancock has hinted at a second national lockdown, telling BBC Breakfast that nothing was ‘off the table’.

‘We’ve always said all along that we take nothing off the table,’ he explained.

‘Having said that, we have seen the rise in the number of cases has slowed a bit. ‘The problem is it’s still going up, and while it’s still going up we’ve got to act to get it under control.’

While England has so far avoided a second lockdown, other parts of the UK have implemented lockdown measures to try and curb the surge in case numbers.

Scotland installed a ‘circuit break’ which saw pubs and restaurants banned from serving alcohol indoors, and closed altogether in some regions, while Northern Ireland has put in place a lockdown which has seen many shops, businesses and other venues closed for a fortnight – as well as older school students switching to remote learning for a week after half-term.

Wales meanwhile, has implemented a ‘firebreak’ lockdown, returning to a ‘stay at home’ regime similar to that which was seen between March and May earlier this year.

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