Second national lockdown now ‘inevitable’, claim experts

The North East could face harsher restrictions after case rate doubles in a week

coronavirus covid-19 lockdown newcastle north east

A second national lockdown is now “inevitable” to slow the second spike of coronavirus, experts claim.

At the recent virtual Conservative Party Conference, Boris Johnson claimed that such draconian measures were necessary due to there being “no reasonable alternative”.

The North of England has had the rates of cases double in a week, with cases in Newcastle having risen 49.6% since last week. This has caused rumours of potentially harsher lockdown restrictions in the region from the government, due to the local lockdown seemingly not being strict enough.

Should a second lockdown go into effect, pubs and restaurants would once again have to close, as well as all non-essential shops.

However, local government leaders in Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, and Leeds have said that they wouldn’t support harsher “economic lockdowns” and have called for new powers to take control and tackle the second spike.

In response to the rising cases, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock has proposed a three-tier lockdown system, which would allow for a clearer response on both national and local levels. It is being created in the hope that it would increase the public’s compliance with measures.

The first tier would be the level of measures currently in place in most parts of England – social distancing being the key aspect.

The second tier would involve local lockdowns, as in North-East England – curfews on hospitality venues and a ban on meetings between households. 

The final third tier would involve stricter lockdown measures.

However, despite the three-tier system being made on the advice of the Government’s medical advisors, Boris Johnson has deferred giving it the green light.

Professor John Edmunds, a Government advisor on coronavirus response, has criticised local measures and said more national restrictions were needed immediately. 

He told BBC Newsnight that the current local restrictions are “not working” but merely “delaying the inevitable.”

“These local restrictions that have been put in place in much of the north of England really haven’t been very effective,” he said.

“We need to take much more stringent measures, not just in the north of England, we need to do it countrywide, and bring the epidemic back under control.”

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