United Kingdom resists national lockdown despite study suggesting it could save lives

  • United Kingdom resists national lockdown despite study suggesting it could save lives

United Kingdom resists national lockdown despite study suggesting it could save lives

The new three-tier system of Covid-19 restrictions has begun in England, with the Liverpool region the first to enter the highest alert level.

Government health officials are expected to discuss with councillors in Greater Manchester and Lancashire whether to classify the areas as "very high".

The Labour leader had called for its introduction on Tuesday, saying his proposal would keep schools open as normal by using the upcoming October half term.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said his party also backed a circuit-breaker, warning that "otherwise the cost to lives and livelihoods as well as to jobs in our communities may be too harsh to bear".

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer heaped pressure onto the Prime Minister by publicly calling for a two- to three-week national lockdown over the October half term.

The paper by Graham Medley, a member of the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, says that "the optimal time for a break is always now; there are no good epidemiological reasons to delay the break".

As with Singapore, many countries have introduced what was meant to be a short, sharp lockdown only to extend it.

"We want to put in the most stringent measures necessary in the places where the virus is surging in order to get it down where it is surging", he added. "This is our opportunity to do that and suppress the virus where it is surging", he said.

Professor Anthony Costello, a former director at the World Health Organisation, believes a "circuit breaker" would be the best course of action for the government.

In Northern Ireland, the Stormont executive is understood to be considering a four-week lockdown that is not as widespread as that imposed in March.

It emerged on Monday that the Prime Minister dismissed a recommendation for a "circuit-breaker" from Sage three weeks ago, opting instead for the less drastic three-tier local alert levels.

In Greater Manchester, Labour's Mr Burnham and council leaders across the region were resisting the "fundamentally flawed" highest level of restrictions without greater financial support.

More than 3,390 people were asked by YouGov on Wednesday whether they would be for or against a fortnight-long shutdown later this month.

In a statement published yesterday, Mr Starmer called on the Government to follow the SAGE advice and introduce a short, "circuit-breaker" lockdown.

Johnson said he would stick to this localised approach, responding to opposition leader Keir Starmer's demand for a temporary national lockdown.

"It's really a question of when and how, and we're working with Government trying to put together a package of measures that will mitigate the inevitable impact on that particular sector of the economy", the Conservative told BBC Breakfast. There are now more people in hospital with COVID than on 23 March when we went into national lockdown.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson wrote on Twitter: "These pictures shame our city, attacking our fearless police officers is unacceptable".

Britain reported 19,724 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, a rise of 2,490 from the day before, and a daily death toll of 137, compared to Tuesday's 143.

- Mr Johnson suffered a major Tory backbench rebellion over the 10pm hospitality curfew, amid a growing backlash against Government coronavirus restrictions.