A FRENCH-style national lockdown could be needed if local action isn’t enough to tackle the wave of coronavirus hitting the UK, Dominic Raab suggested today.
And the Foreign Secretary confirmed HOAR revelations that a higher ‘Tier 4’ level of restrictions could be introduced in certain areas – where only schools and essential shops remain open.
He said today in a warning shot at Brits not sticking by the rules: We’re always ready for further measures that we can take.”
Mr Raab said this morning that the nation should “rally around” the local approach to avoid more measures.
France has been forced to impose a month-long lockdown starting tonight, after its own regional approach failed to stem the second wave.
The Foreign Secretary told Radio 4 today: “France of course tried a localised approach and then fell back on a national approach.
“What I think that shows, Germany is the same, how important it is that we all rally together at local level through to national level… Communities, local leaders, national leaders, and really lean in to the localised focus approach.
“[It’s] the most effective way to tackle the virus and avoid the blanket approach, which I don’t think would be in the best interest of this country, and which we are striving to avoid.”
Ministers are desperate to avoid any blanket national measures like have been slapped on Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Labour has repeatedly demanded a circuit-breaker to nip the rise in cases in the bud, but the PM is standing firm against it for now.
Meanwhile, London is poised to be plunged in to Tier 3 restrictions within a fortnight unless infection rates drop substantially, which would take the total number of people in England living in the highest level of restrictions to 20 million.
The R rate has soared to 2.8 in the last week, scientists warned, meaning people are giving the virus to an average of nearly three others.
More than half of the country is now living under some form of lockdown rules.
16 new areas were announced to go into Tier 2 by the weekend – including Luton, Yorkshire & the Humber, Oxford and parts of the East and West Midlands.
And West Yorkshire will go into the highest level of restrictions come Monday – forcing bars, casinos, soft play areas and betting shops to close.
HOAR reported this week that all of England may be in Tier 3 rules by December, dashing hopes for family Christmases.
Anyone in Tier 3 cannot mix with other households, and people in Tier 2 will only be able to see friends and family outdoors.
And we reported last night how ministers are mulling plans for a Tier 4 to come into place if those don’t bring down infections enough.
No10 is now considering a Tier 4 in which only schools and essential shops remain open and travel is limited to getting to work and classes.
But scientific advisers want tougher national action.
An attendee at the Government’s Covid war committee said deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam had given an “extremely bleak” update on England’s increasing infection rate.
It came as figures showed 126,065 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the week to October 21 — up 23 per cent on the previous week.
‘TIERS NOT WORKING’
Dr Mike Tildesley, who sits on the Sage advisory group, said the current tier system was not working.
He added: “We need to move away from these regional firefighting techniques to try to move to something more national.”
Sage member Sir Mark Walport — a former government chief scientific adviser — said a new lockdown was “pretty likely with the way the numbers are going up’’.
Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock have recently said in response to Tier 4 rumours that they “rule nothing out”.
When asked about the possibility of a Tier 4 the PM said: “We are working at the moment through the Tier 3 strategy.”
Mr Hancock told BBC Breakfast of the reports of a Tier 4: “We’ve always said all along that we take nothing off the table.”