UK government may ban socializing in northern England to combat the second wave of #COVID-19
The United Kingdom government is reportedly looking at plans to ban all socialising across much of northern England and London to combat a second wave of coronavirus.
Under the new lockdown measures being considered, all pubs, restaurants and bars across a wide area would be ordered to shut for two weeks initially to slow the spread.
Meanwhile, millions more people would be banned from meeting friends and family who they don’t live with indoors.
That rule already applies to millions of people in local lockdown areas like Manchester, Newcastle and Liverpool, but could be extended to more areas including London.
Schools and shops would be allowed to remain open, along with factories and offices at which staff could not work from home, it is reported.
Care minister Helen Whately today repeatedly refused to rule out the drastic plan, which wasreported in The Times.
Residents of Bolton, Greater Manchester, are under further restrictions as the area continues to record the highest rate in England
She told BBC Breakfast: “We don’t want to bring in restrictions any more than we have to, but we know we must have Covid under control.”
She added: “This is the moment of time when we have an opportunity, we have a choice as a country, to get this back down under control with the Covid rates again.”According to The Times, the measure was presented to ministers as an option last week but was held back following a Cabinet row about how best to protect the economy.Instead Boris Johnson opted for a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants – but SAGE scientists claimed they were not consulted on it, and the measure has led to large crowds partying in the streets at closing time.Announcing the curfew last week, the Prime Minister said he wanted to avoid a second national lockdown – which he branded “disastrous” for the economy.But he also warned he could take further measures if the curfew doesn’t work, with his right-hand man warning they’d be “more intrusive or we could end up in a national lockdown”.
The sun could go down on London’s social life(Image: REUTERS)Tory minister Ms Whately refused to rule out or deny the report in The Times when questioned in repeated TV and radio interviews this morning.
She told Sky News: “We don’t want to bring in tighter restrictions because we know how difficult they make people’s lives.
“We want people to both be able to spend time with friends and family and also crucially for the economy to still be going as strong as it possibly can.
“So we don’t want to bring in more restrictions.“But of course we keep a constant eye on what’s going on with the Covid rates – and we have seen these upward trends in recent weeks.”She said images of people partying in the streets after 10pm pub kick-outs were “worrying”, and warned people to “head home”.”Everybody’s actions count”, she added.
It comes after a range of measures were brought in across the UK – although England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all legislate separately.
New measures since last week required people to work from home where possible.Downing Street had also ordered restaurants and bars to close early to tackle a fast-spreading second wave of Covid-19, with new restrictions lasting probably six months.
if the country “pulls together” and observes the new coronavirus rules.The Government is under pressure to guarantee young people are not confined to their halls of residence over the festive period because of Covid-19 outbreaks on campuses.
Thousands of students are currently self-isolating in their rooms following a surge in cases at institutions including Glasgow, Manchester Metropolitan and Edinburgh Napier.
A university security guard takes the details of a student leaving the halls at Manchester Metropolitan University(Image: Mercury Press & Media)Mr Dowden also insisted there was “definitely science” behind the 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants – despite a scientist advising the Government saying he had “never heard” the measure discussed at Sage meetings.
Videos posted on social media on Saturday evening suggested the early closing times were leading to street parties in city centres.Infectious disease modelling expert Professor Graham Medley said on Saturday he did not recall the curfew being discussed by Sage.
Government defends handling of students in lockdown
Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden says students should pay full university fees, despite many being in lockdown, while shadow justice secretary David Lammy says they have been “done over.
An estimated 17.8 million people – more than a quarter of the UK population – will be under tougher coronavirus restrictions later on Sunday as new measures are introduced in Cardiff and Swansea from 6pm.
The Welsh Government also announced that Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan will go into local lockdown from 6pm on Monday.The Government said that, as of 9am on Sunday, there had been a further 5,693 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.
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