Second national lockdown possible if Brits don’t obey rule of 6, PM hints

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A SECOND national lockdown could be possible if Brits don’t obey the new rule of six, the PM hinted this afternoon.

Boris Johnson refused to rule out another lockdown but said the Government would do everything possible to prevent national restrictions forcing businesses to close.

Brits could face a second national lockdown if they don’t follow the rules
Boris warned a second lockdown would be “disastrous”

 

The PM is having a grilling from top politicians from across the spectrum in a liaison committee.

He said this afternoon: “I don’t want a second national lockdown. I think it would be completely wrong for this country.”

“I very much doubt whether the financial consequences would be anything but disastrous. But we have to make sure we defeat the disease that we’ve set out.

“And so when I see people arguing against the rule of six, or saying the Government is coming in too hard on individual liberties, I sympathise with that but we must beat this disease.”

And the PM said the country’s coffers couldn’t afford one either, after the Chancellor spent billions earlier this year trying to keep the economy afloat.

He said earlier: “The reason we have tightened up the rule of six and buttressed it with the force of law is that we do think the disease is gaining ground.

“We have a very clear means to suppress it. That is social distancing – the rule of six – and I urge people to obey it.”

It comes as the UK had almost 4,000 new cases of coronavirus today and 20 new deaths.

But the Government has already vowed to keep schools open and avoid a second lockdown if at all possible.

Local lockdowns are being used instead of sweeping national measures in areas where there are spikes in fresh cases.

And ministers are looking at bringing in curfews for pubs to try and stop the spread of the virus without having to close down venues entirely.

The PM also said:

  • Recent coronavirus cases among people in their 20s are spreading to older people and deaths WILL rise
  • The coronavirus inquiry would “look at everything that has gone wrong and gone right” but he refused again to say when it would start
  • The civil service needed to be “faster and better” in future and he would “not be shy of reform” where it’s needed
  • It was a “long way off” instant-result pregnancy-style tests which show whether someone has the virus within minutes
  • Ministers will show “creativity and flexibility” in helping support the economy as the furlough scheme ends next month

Mr Johnson said the rate of older people getting coronavirus had doubled to 12 per 100,000 in the last week – and that it was bound to lead to deaths.

Data published by Downing Street showed the rate of coronavirus among those aged 20-29 hit 46 per 100,000 – compared with just 30 last week.

He said: “The (will be a) progression of the disease from younger groups, who are much less prone to worst effects, up into the older groups.

“We must expect those infections proportionately to lead to mortality.”

It comes after pictures showed thousands of freshers piling into university were breaking the rule of six and risking spreading the virus.

Downing Street released more data on the growing rate of coronavirus

TESTING CRISIS

The PM was asked this afternoon if there were enough tests to meet the current demand in the UK, and he replied frankly: “The short answer is no, we don’t.

“We don’t have the testing capacity. We would like to test everyone who wants a test.”

But he again committed to the promise of reaching 500,000 by the end of October – around 200,000 more than the current capacity.

He said he “hopes” that will be enough to meet the demand.

The Prime Minister told MPs: “Everything is being done that we possibly can to increase testing capacity.

“Testing capacity just in the last two weeks has gone up 10 per cent.”

Earlier minister Robert Buckland said that teachers would likely be top of the list after NHS and social care staff.

Most of the new cases have been among teenagers aged 17 and 21 in the last week or so – but older people are getting infected too and it WOULD lead to more deaths.

He warned the nation: “The incidence amongst 18+ group is now 12 per 100k where only a few days ago it was about half that.

“It is growing, although the number of cases is obviously far smaller than it was in the spring.

“We must expect those infections proportionately to lead to mortality.”

More than 3,000 new cases were reported yesterday alone – a sharp spike from last week.

It led to the PM bringing in the new ‘rule of six’ earlier this week, banning gatherings of large numbers to try and bring the rates down.

BACK TO NORMAL

Theatres and large-scale football games will only be able to return when the UK has access to rapid coronavirus tests which tell if someone has it in minutes, the PM said today.

The first pilots for live games are set to take place this weekend, but many theatres are still operating at just a fraction of the capacity.

A second national lockdown would be unaffordable for the country, he admitted too, saying the Government would do everything they could to stop it again.

FUR-LONGER

He promised the Government would show “creativity and flexibility” in providing support for the economy as the furlough scheme ends at the end of October.

And he said: “This government has done more than virtually any other government around the world to support people at risk of losing their jobs because of Covid.

“Going forward … we will continue to show great creativity and flexibility, which the Chancellor has shown, in trying to look after every sector of the economy.”

SCHOOL’S OUT – AGAIN

Around 11 per cent of kids were absent from school this week – partly over coronavirus fears.

And earlier today HOAR revealed that 740 schools have been forced to send kids home over the coronavirus testing shambles

Furious headteachers warned youngsters are being plunged into a second “lockdown by default” because of the crisis.

Steve Chalke, head of the Oasis Academies Trust schools chain, said he has been told 740 schools in England have been shut or sent kids home because of suspected Covid outbreaks – around three per cent of the total.

In some schools this includes several year groups being banished from the classroom.

He said today: “These are kids who have a mountain to climb after the schools shutdown – they have lost confidence.

“And now, just days after schools reopened they are being sent home again for two weeks.

“The Prime Minister says we have a moral duty to get all kids back to school, but sending them back is not the same thing as staying in school.”

A staggering 74 per cent of parents who needed a Covid test for their kid in the past fortnight said they struggled to get one, a snap poll from Netmums found.

The PM stressed today schools should not be sending everyone for a test if they did not have symptoms.

Only kids who have been showing a fever, new cough, or loss of taste or smell should enquire about a test.

Kids only have to isolate if one person in their bubble tests positive

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