PM briefs cabinet ahead of three-tier lockdown announcement
Written by Rother Radio News on 11/10/2020
Boris Johnson is gathering cabinet ministers for a call as he prepares to unveil a new three-tier lockdown system.
The prime minister is briefing his top team this evening and is expected to reveal his plan to impose tougher restrictions on parts of England tomorrow.
Under the draft blueprint, pubs and bars could be closed in areas of northern England put into the strictest tier.
And residents may be ordered not to have any social contact with anyone outside their household in any setting.
They said such a lockdown move would be “devastating” for jobs and high case numbers there are mostly students safely “confined” to halls of residence.
Meanwhile, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick revealed a few glimpses of what Mr Johnson will say in a coronavirus update to parliament on Monday.
He appeared to confirm a Sunday Times report that local leaders will be more involved in contact tracing, after repeated criticism of the numbers of people successfully contacted by Test and Trace.
And he added Mr Johnson will lay out more guidance on travel, but that there are no plans for a “circuit breaker”.
Prof John Ashton, a former regional director at Public Health England, said the three-tier approach “would have been the right way to go at the beginning, if we’d had adequate testing and tracing”.
But first “we need a lockdown of most of the country again now to try and get back in control”, he told Sky News.
Prof Ashton added the government had “stubbornly stuck with this private solution” of a more centralised Test and Trace programme, but that signals more powers will be handed to local public health teams were welcome.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Derry and Strabane council in Northern Ireland has urged more government help for his region “very, very soon” as hospital admissions increase and hospitality businesses suffer.
There is speculation Northern Ireland could go into another total lockdown.
Brian Tierney told Sky News the new scheme announced by the chancellor this week was not good enough and that he fears “thousands upon thousands” of job losses.
Extra restrictions in the region have recently come in after it recorded 584.7 weekly cases per 100,000 people.
“We need government intervention and we need it very, very soon,” said Mr Tierney – who also called for “an all-island approach” that takes into consideration communities over the border.
The UK recorded another 12,872 coronavirus cases on Sunday, with another 65 deaths taking the total to 42,825.
Britons are being urged to maintain distancing, wash their hands and wear a face covering in light of the figures, though more cases are an inevitability of greatly increased test numbers.
The country is already at “a tipping point similar to where we were in March“, England’s deputy chief medical officer Prof Jonathan Van-Tam has warned.
“We can prevent history repeating itself if we all act now,” he urged.
© Sky News 2020