Matt Hancock has issued an update after reports that people living in the UK could face a third full lockdown.
Earlier today (January 4), the health secretary indicated that even tighter lockdown measures could be introduced in England.
He pointed to the fact that the NHS is “under significant pressure” as a result of coronavirus.
And he said he “does not rule out” another national lockdown.
When could a UK lockdown update be issued?
Infection rates in areas already in tier 3 are rising sharply, Matt Hancock explained, and these areas could soon move into tier 4.
This could happen within the next 24 hours, the health secretary hinted.
He stated: “We have shown that we’re prepared to move incredibly quickly, within 24 hours if we think that is necessary.
“And we keep these things under review all the time.”
Asked if the government could act within 24 hours, he added: “We look at the data on a daily basis, and we can see at the moment there are significant rises, especially in the areas that are still in tier 3.
“But I also come back to this broader point, that it’s on all of us.
“The thing that stops the spread of the disease is people not coming into contact with other people. That is the sad truth of it.”
Labour leader wants a full national lockdown
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer last night called upon Boris Johnson to impose a full national lockdown.
He said the virus is “clearly out of control” and national restrictions have to be “the first step”.
It’s thought the PM is considering his options today.
His decision comes as it’s reported that it will take “months” of lockdown to beat the virus.
He has already warned of “tough tough” weeks to come.
Boris said: “If you look at the numbers there’s no question we will have to take tougher measures and we will be announcing those in due course.”
What will a full lockdown look like?
Those living in tier 4 are already pretty much under a full lockdown, but there have been warnings that tier 5 is on the way.
Currently in tier 4, non-essential shops are shut, hairdressers and nail bars are closed and restaurants can only offer takeaway or delivery.
People should work from home wherever possible.
Pubs are shut, gyms and indoor swimming pools are also closed.
People living in tier 4 areas are not allowed to meet people from other households indoors unless they’re in your support bubble.
If you look at the numbers there’s no question we will have to take tougher measures and we will be announcing those in due course.
Outside, you can meet one person from another household in a public place – but social distancing must be observed.
People should stay at home unless they have a reasonable excuse to be outside.
Weddings and civil ceremonies are off, but communal worship can still take place.
Overseas travel is also banned, with the exception of those travelling for work and education.
Will schools close again?
A further announcement on schools is expected later this week.
All London primary schools are currently closed, with many others closed until at least January 18.
Commenting on further closures, Boris hinted at a return to the way things were back in the spring of last year, with schools shut to the majority of children.
“Clearly school closures, which we had to do in March, is one of those things,” he said when asked what was being considered.
Plans for the country’s most vulnerable people are also being drawn up, it’s been reported, with shielding expected to return.
This comes as the health secretary warned the tier system is “no longer strong enough” to contain the virus.
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