ANOTHER national lockdown will lead to repeated country-wide shutdowns which would destroy the economy, a Cabinet minister warned today.
Robert Jenrick said earlier that the Government thinks any circuit breaker action would “not be a one-off” and would lead to more and more lockdowns.
Boris Johnson has continued to oppose any nationwide shutdowns, saying the infection spread is different across the country and a local approach is the best.
Communities Secretary Mr Jenrick said the Government will “try everything in our power” to avoid a “blanket national lockdown”.
And he admitted tat coronavirus rates are in a “bad place” all over the country now, which would strengthen the argument for national action.
He said the Government’s “very firm view” is that a short national “circuit-breaker” lockdown would be the wrong approach, saying “you can’t have a stop-start country”.
But Home Secretary Priti Patel said that ministers would rule nothing out.
When asked if she would rule out another national lockdown this lunchtime, Ms Patel said: “Well I think at this stage of course we can rule nothing out because we are a Government that is focused on making sure that we stop the spread of this virus and also (that) we protect public health.
“So we have been using, and we are using and we will continue to use, every single means available to us to do exactly that.”
Calls are growing for the PM to implement national measures to try and get a grip on the virus, as cases still continue to grow.
Scientists today warned that the true number of people being infected was 100,000 a day – but people testing positive has only been around a fifth of that.
Calls have grown for extra action in the coming weeks to try and get a grip on cases before it’s too late.
Yesterday Nottinghamshire announced it would go into Tier 3 restrictions – but with even more rules than seen in other areas.
Beauty salons, tattoo parlours and anywhere which doesn’t serve substantial meals must shut, or go take-away only.
Shisha will be banned in cafes, and people will be unable to buy alcohol after 9pm in supermarkets and shops.
This morning Government scientific adviser Dr Mike Tildesley said more national restrictions are needed, with the current trajectory likely to put nearly everywhere in Tier 2 before Christmas.
The University of Warwick researcher, who sits on the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M), told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We are seeing the R number is greater than 1 everywhere. And, in a sense, some kind of national lockdown, a circuit-breaker or something along those lines, would actually have more effect in those parts of the country that have not yet progressed into Tier 2.
“R is greater than 1 everywhere and if we don’t take urgent action we’re most likely to see that as we’re approaching the festive period we’re probably going to be at least in Tier 2 pretty much everywhere in the country.
“So really we need to move away from these regional firefighting techniques to try to move to something more national.”
Gloomy scientists warned earlier this week that the whole country may need to be in Tier 3 by December – HOAR has revealed.
And leaked documents to the BBC and Spectator revealed that there could be 85,000 extra deaths because of Covid this winter.
In a horror doomsday report it suggested the next peak could be around March – with 800 deaths per day – but it would slowly climb for weeks.
It said that the virus may peak with 100,000 infections by Valentine’s Day.