Boris Johnson has announced a four-week national lockdown in England in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus, amid criticism that his delay in imposing restrictions will have a “very real” human cost.
The Prime Minister rejected calls last month for a short, sharp shutdown – but after local restrictions failed to sufficiently reduce infections, he was forced to tell the country once again to stay at home.
Pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential retail will close from Thursday until December 2 across England, with furlough payments at 80% extended for the duration of the new restrictions.
Micheal Gove went onto Sky News this morning to discuss the new lockdown measures and if they could last beyond the one month set out by the PM in a delayed press conference last night.
He was asked: “What is the exit strategy?”
He replied that the government thinks the lockdown will bring R, the reproduction number, below 1. But it will look at all of the data.
He says people will call for particular restrictions to be lifted. But if there is not a powerful bundle of restrictions, then R may not be reduced sufficiently.
He was then asked: “Could the national lockdown be extended?”
Gove replied: “Yes.” He then went on to say that the government may again revert to a regional approach if the lockdown is extended.
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Next up on the Sophy Ridge on Sunday show, was Mark Walport, former Chief Scientific Advisor, who was asked: “We’re not going to be able to have a usual Christmas?”
He replied, saying that the virus is sublimely indifferent as to what day of the week it is. So it’s unlikely it’s going to be a normal Christmas.
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Starmer rejects union call for schools to close
Sir Jeremy Farrar, head of the Wellcome Trust and a member of Sage, has been speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr. He said the lockdown might have to go further.
Yesterday the National Education Union calls for schools and colleges to be closed during 4 week national lockdown.
However, Labour Leader Starmer has rejected calls to shut educational establishments. He told Andrew Marr the harm to children from prolonged absence from school, particularly disadvantaged children is considerable.