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England’s month-long lockdown could be extended, says Michael Gove

Written by on 01/11/2020

England’s month-long lockdown could be extended beyond 2 December if necessary, cabinet minister Michael Gove has told Sky News.

Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sunday, the Tory frontbencher also defended the introduction of the nationwide restrictions, having previously rejected it, arguing the “situation has been worse than anyone expected”.

He warned the NHS would be overwhelmed unless action was taken.

From Thursday until 2 December, people in England will only be allowed to leave their homes for specific reasons, such as education, work or food shopping.

Mr Gove said the government would review the data during November, adding that he hoped the reinfection rate would be “significantly reduced” by the start of next month.

But asked if the national lockdown could be extended, he replied: “Yes.”

He said: “We want to be in a position where we can – and I believe that this is likely to be the case – have an approach where if we bring down the rate of infection sufficiently we can reduce measures nationally and also reduce measures regionally.

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“Because the regional approach is one that, wherever possible, we want to take because again we recognise it may be the case in the future that having reduced R below 1, having reduced national restrictions, we may see a specific upsurge in specific areas which will require specific regional measures.”

Speaking at a Downing Street news conference on Saturday evening, Boris Johnson said there was “no alternative” to a second period of national lockdown restrictions.

The prime minister urged the country to return to his spring message of “stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives” and acknowledged that “Christmas is going to be different this year”.

However, Mr Johnson suggested that “tough action now” could allow families to be together over the festive period.

Mr Johnson said that “no responsible prime minister” could ignore the rising number of coronavirus infections across England.

And he warned that, without action, there could be a greater number of COVID-19 deaths this winter than during the spring’s first wave of the pandemic.

Schools, colleges and universities will remain open while those who cannot work from home, such as workers in construction or manufacturing, will be encouraged to continue going to their workplaces.

Pubs, bars and restaurants will close across the country, although they will be able to offer takeaway and delivery services.

Non-essential shops, hairdressers and leisure and entertainment venues will also be shut.

 Sky News

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