Helen Whately blames restrictions on household mixing as a newspaper says a government source claims the action “will have to come”
A minister has suggested that tighter social restrictions could potentially be imposed if COVID-19 infections in the UK continue to rise.
Helen Whately said that “we don’t want to” bring in the further measures taking the UK back towards a second nation-wide lockdown but has cautioned the government to keep a “constant eye” on coronavirus cases in the country.
It comes amid a warning the new 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants could be “doing more harm than good”.
This comes after, in the UK, face masks and other face coverings have become mandatory for bar staff, shop workers and waiters, as well as taxi drivers in an effort to fight the increase in cases of the coronavirus throughout England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced.
The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, called for an “urgent review” of the policy that was put in place last week because it “creates an incentive for people to gather in the street or more probably to gather in the home”.
he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
“I don’t think this has been fully thought through,”
Ms Whately has called scenes of people partying and not following social distancing after leaving pubs and bars at 10pm “worrying” and when asked if further changes were on the way, she pointed to the rules on banning household mixing within parts of northwest and northeast England.
This follows a report by The Times newspaper that says a “total social lockdown” could be implemented throughout much of the north of Britain and within London, with all pubs and restaurants being ordered to shut for 14 days.
The Times newspaper quoted a senior government official as saying that the nation, as well as Conservative MPs weren’t “ready” for such action to take place but it “will have to come”.
Ms Whately has not yet denied that this plan is being considered.
“We have an opportunity – a choice – as a country to get this back under control again,” she said.
“This is our moment in time to make sure we’re doing social distancing and the rule of six. That’s how we control it.”
This comes after the UK could soon be seeing 49,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day unless further action is taken in order to drive down the current rate of infection in the country, according to the government’s chief scientific adviser.
The latest figures that were released on Sunday, have shown that there were 5,693 new cases of the coronavirus in the UK, with a further 17 people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19.
Higher daily infections of COVID-19 were reported earlier in the week, which includes the highest on record across the United Kingdom.
Experts have warned that case numbers will be higher given that the testing capacity has been dramatically increased compared with the spring.