Boris Johnson’s Government is mulling tougher restrictions in England to tackle a swiftly accelerating second wave of the coronavirus outbreak as cases continue to soar. Ministers are understood to be preparing to enforce a total social lockdown across much of northern England and potentially London, which would see all pubs, restaurants and bars ordered to shut for two weeks. Express.co.uk is asking you would you support a two-week national lockdown to stem the rise of coronavirus?
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said any new national lockdown would threaten jobs, livelihoods and human contact.
But his government is now said to be considering shutting down London and parts of majority of northern Britain to combat a second wave of COVID-19, according to reports in The Times.
Under the new lockdown measures being considered, all pubs, restaurants and bars would be ordered to shut for two weeks initially.
While households would also be banned indefinitely from meeting each other in any indoor location where they were not already under the order.
A senior government source said: “The nation and the party wasn’t ready for us to go any further last week.
Coronavirus is continuing to spread across the UK
People are being urged to wear face masks in public
“There wasn’t a wide enough understanding of how substantial the second wave could be.
“Unlike the first lockdown, nobody has seen pictures of body bags in Spain or France on the TV yet, which had a very powerful effect. You have to take people with you.
“Tougher measures on social interaction will have to come though. They’re inevitable in some parts if you look at the numbers.”
Schools and shops will be allowed to remain open, along with factories and offices at which staff could not work from home.
Mr Johnson was said to have considered placing the capital and parts of the North in lockdown last week when he introduced new tougher restrictions, but held back over fears of a backlash.
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Coronavirus continues to spread across the UK
When quizzed over reports of another lockdown, Junior Health Minister Helen Whately said the country was at a really serious point and so COVID-19 had to be brought under control.
But she declined to say whether pubs would be closed.
She told Sky News: “We don’t want to bring on new restrictions but of course we keep a constant eye on what is going on with the COVID rate.
“We were looking at what we might be able to do.
“This is the moment when we have an opportunity – we have a choice for the country – to get this back under control,” Whately said. “We have to break these chains of transmission.”
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Coronavirus is continuing to spread across the UK
The UK is on the brink of a second lockdown
She said pictures from the weekend, after pubs were ordered to close early which showed crowds of young revellers outside pubs, were “worrying”.
Under the current new rules in England, pubs and restaurants are forced to close by 10pm with only table service allowed, while wedding attendance has been reduced to a maximum of 15 people, with new restrictions lasting probably six months.
Face masks must now be worn by all those working in retail, travelling in taxis and staff and customers in indoor hospitality – except when sat at a table to eat or drink.
Also in the statement was a u-turn on work, with the Prime Minister telling employees to work from home if they could, just weeks after urging staff to return to the workplace.
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Meanwhile, new local lockdowns, further restrictions and tough new fines for failing to self-isolate came into force across parts of the UK today.
People across England will be legally required to self-isolate from this week if they test positive for coronavirus or are contacted by the test and trace service.
If they do not they risk being hit with new fines starting at £1,000 and increasing up to £10,000 for repeat offenders or serious breaches, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.
People who test positive for COVID-19 will also be fined if they knowingly provide false information about close contacts to the test and trace service.
Meanwhile, the Welsh Government announced three more council areas in South Wales will go into local lockdown from 6pm on Monday.
Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan will be covered by the restrictions, which mean people will not be able to enter or leave the areas without a reasonable excuse.
They will not be able to meet indoors with anyone they do not live with, with extended households suspended.
Restrictions are already in place in Cardiff, Swansea, Llanelli, Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport, and Rhondda Cynon Taf.