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Government lockdowns in March this year came as a surprise for many people across the UK, who suddenly found themselves unable to work, travel or meet loved ones. The necessary precautions prevented thousands of more deaths, but since they lifted have left people unwilling to self-isolate once more. Scientists have warned the need may arise again in just a few months, although the Prime Minister has pledged against it.
Is another lockdown coming?
Lockdown in the UK left millions of people confined to their homes for months, businesses closed and the Government taking up the slack.
Although the vital measures prevented further deaths, many people remain fearful they might have to isolate once again, leaving behind their family and friends.
The Government is equally averse to more blanket measures which could further damage an economy in crisis.
But chief officials have warned winter may necessitate another shutdown, with a looming flu season compounding fallout from COVID-19.
Earlier this year Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s Chief Scientific Officer, said the risk could require national action.
He said: “Come winter, the challenges will be very much greater, and there is a risk that this could also need national measures as well.”
Boris Johnson signalled his priority was to avoid another UK-wide lockdown, however.
He branded national lockdown a “nuclear deterrent” and said the country likely wouldn’t need the measures again.
“Yes. I mean, look, I can’t abandon that tool any more than I would abandon a nuclear deterrent.
“But it is like a nuclear deterrent, I certainly don’t want to use it.
“And nor do I think we will be in that position again.”
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The Prime Minister added technical and scientific advancement would help contain outbreaks before they snowball into a national crisis.
He said: “It’s not just that we’re getting much better at spotting the disease and isolating it locally, but we understand far more which groups it affects, how it works, how it’s transmitted, so the possibility of different types of segmentation, of enhanced shielding for particular groups, is now there.”
Ministers have imposed local lockdowns where possible when the R rate rises above R1.
Currently, areas to the north of the UK have had new measures imposed, including Northwest England, Leicester, Glasgow and West Yorkshire.
People cannot meet anyone outside their household or support bubble in their home or garden in the following locations:
- Leicester City
- Glasgow City
- East Renfrewshire
- West Dunbartonshire
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