Boris Johnson is reportedly preparing to impose a national lockdown from as early as Wednesday amid concerns hospitals across England are being overwhelmed. The restrictions could see everything except nurseries, schools, universities, and essential shops close until Dec 1, according to The Times. The newspaper reports that the PM held a meeting this afternoon with senior cabinet ministers Rishi Sunak, Michael Gove, and Matt Hancock. The ministers reportedly were left feeling that they ‘have no choice but to implement national restrictions’ following bleak data from Government scientists.
Documents from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) released on Friday showed Covid-19 was spreading significantly faster through England than the Government’s own predicted worst-case scenario for cases and hospital admissions. Sage had estimated 85,000 deaths from coronavirus over the course of the winter, but an official document dated October 14 and published today reveals we are in a worse position than expected.
Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van Tam is said to have warned ministers on Thursday morning that coronavirus is ‘out of control’. Steven Swinford, the deputy political editor of The Times, tweeted: ‘I’m told that some projections circulating in Whitehall suggest that without significant interventions there will be a big spike in deaths around Christmas Eve. ‘Ministers hope the national lockdown measures, expected to last just under a month, will help suppress the spread.’ The Government now faces a critical weekend to determine which measures will be introduced. Scientists say a second national lockdown is needed to save Christmas (Picture: Getty) Scientists advising the Government is reportedly pushing for a month-long lockdown similar to what was imposed in France, saying this is the only way to save Christmas and stop hospitals from running out of beds. The country went back into a strict lockdown tonight. Under the rules, schools will stay open but non-essential businesses will have to close, travel between regions will be banned and people can only leave their homes for work, medical reasons, and an hour of exercise per day. President Emmanuel Macron said it was necessary to ‘apply the breaks brutally’ to avoid being ‘submerged by the acceleration of the epidemic’. The move put increased pressure on Boris Johnson, who has resisted calls for a national lockdown in favor of a tiered regional approach. France entered a second national lockdown on Friday, with thousands of people seen leaving Paris ahead of the restrictions (Picture: ZUMA Press/REX) The PM is said to have been warned that delaying the lockdown could ‘backfire on him’ and that hospitals in England will be full by December 17 unless he took more action. He is expected to address the nation on Monday when he will announce a national lockdown closing everything except essential shops and ‘educational settings’. A senior government source told The Times that no final decision had been made, with ministers also mulling over plans to implement a tier four level of restrictions closing restaurants and non-essential shops. However, officials are said to be in favor of a national approach as cases continue to rise despite regional lockdowns in many parts of the country.