BORIS Johnson is considering a “circuit breaker” lockdown in coronavirus hotspots during the half term holidays, according to reports.
The Prime Minister could order pubs, restaurants and other businesses to close for two weeks in some areas of the country if the new local lockdown restrictions brought in today fail to reduce the spread of the virus.
A decision will be taken towards the end of next week, ahead of the half-term break which begins on October 26 and would mark the beginning of any temporary lockdown, The Telegraph reports.
An option available to the PM is a regional circuit breaker after he compared a second national lockdown to a “nuclear deterrent”.
The chances of a temporary shutdown were “at least 80 per cent”, according to a senior source.
Over the last 24 hours, the UK reported 17,234 new cases of Covid-19 and 143 deaths – the country’s deadliest day for four months.
Last night, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer urged the PM to close all bars, pubs, restaurants and offices for two to three weeks in a speech last night.
Sir Keir said Mr Johnson’s latest restrictions – which mean pubs and bars in the highest level of lockdown have to close – do not go far enough.
“We’re at a decisive moment in fight against coronavirus. The figures are stark and all heading in the wrong direction,” he said.
“Another course of action is needed, that’s why I’m calling for a two to three week circuit breaker in England.
“A temporary set of clear and effective restrictions to get the R rate down.”
If tougher measures were not brought in, the Labour leader warned that the UK could “sleepwalk into a long and bleak winter”.
“That choice is now for the Prime Minister to make. I urge him to do so.”
The PM has resisted calls from some ministers to impose harsher restrictions than those imposed under the three-tier system.
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham warned that a winter under Tier 3 restrictions would “kill us”.
The Liverpool City Region will follow Tier 3 restrictions meaning pubs will be shut, households will be banned from mixing indoors and outdoors, and gyms and leisure centres will be closed.
As it stands, Greater Manchester will follow Tier 2 restrictions which will see a ban on mixing with other households indoors, including in pubs and in restaurants.
But, a “gold command” meeting will be held today to discuss whether Greater Manchester and Lancashire should be reclassified for tighter restrictions, Sky News reports.
Mr Burnham said: “(It) would be much more effective, come with proper financial support and allow the reset of test and trace.
“A winter in tier 3 would kill us. We are not there yet.”
Boris came under attack from all sides last night as 42 Tory MPs voted against the hospitality curfew.
Bolton West MP Chris Green resigned from the government in opposition to the coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Green said that the Greater Manchester lockdown had “failed” but was instead causing other problems and destroying businesses.
He believed that there were “better alternatives to the Government’s approach”.
He said that the “attempted cure was worse than the disease”.
The PM has said that Britain was entering a “new and crucial phase” in a sombre address to the nation – aiming to simplify the various restrictions already in place across the country.
Two of the government’s top scientific advisers claim a two week ‘circuit break’ lockdown could prevent thousands of deaths before Christmas.
Professors Graham Medley and Matt Keeling say between 3,000 and as many as 107,000 deaths could be avoided by January if a national lockdown is imposed over the October half term.