Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to rule out a second national lockdown to fight the UK’s coronavirus pandemic.
Johnson told MPs that the the government’s three-tier regional approach to fighting the coronavirus pandemic was the best way to avoid the “misery of another national lockdown”.
“The whole point is to seize this moment now to avoid the misery of another national lockdown… by delivering a regional solution,” Johnson said.
The prime minister, however, refused to rule out a second national lockdown when Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer urged him to introduce a time-limited lockdown, also known as a circuit breaker.
“I rule out nothing of course in combating the virus,” the PM said. “But we are going to do it with the local, the regional approach.”
Starmer said a report from government body the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) supported his call for a circuit breaker. The report concluded that a short national lockdown would help slow the spread of the disease and save thousands of lives.
“Why did the prime minister reject that advice and abandon the science?” Starmer said.
Johnson said the disease was more prevalent in some parts of the country than others so a regional system made sense.
“The difference between this stage of the pandemic and March and April is that the disease is appearing much more strongly in some parts of the country than others,” he said.
“That is why the tiered approach that we set out on Monday… is the right way forward,” Johnson said.
“We want to put in the most stringent measures necessary in the places the virus is surging,” he said. “That is the logical thing to do.”
“None of us want to see the disaster… of a national lockdown,” Johnson said. “We don’t want to go there, we want the regional approach.”
The prime minister announced a new three-tier system for local lockdowns on 12 October.
The different areas of England have been placed into three different alert levels with effect from 14 October. Those levels are medium, high and very high. They come with different degrees of restrictions on social distancing and opening hours for businesses.
Liverpool has been placed in the highest-risk category. Pubs and bars that do not serving meals are closed.
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