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Minister warns we may not ‘get back to normal’ until next summer

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces “up to 100” Tory rebels as he prepares to publish an impact assessment of the tier system

It is currently “too early to say” if another nationwide COVID-19 lockdown will need to occur after Christmas, according to a senior cabinet minister.

George Eustice has said that “you can’t rule anything out” when he was asked by Sky News whether the “stay at home” measures could come back into play in order to keep the coronavirus under a level of manageable control.

The environment secretary has also admitted that it could be as late as “next summer” until “we can all start to get back to normal”, which is dependent on a COVID-19 vaccine.

This comes after the tough COVID-19 Tier 3 restrictions that had been imposed before the second national lockdown in England were not strong enough, according to the health secretary when speaking with MPs.

A crucial vote is coming up in the House of Commons tomorrow on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s coronavirus tier system and an attempted return to a regional rules in England from the 2nd of December.

He is facing deep unhappiness from many of his backbenchers about how many areas in England have gone into Tiers 2 and 3, with calculations of more than 60 Conservative MPs having gone public with their worries.

Mr Eustice admitted that there were “up to 100” potential Conservative MP rebels, which means that the government may have to resort to relying on backing from Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer.

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Mr Eustice has so far played down the threat of a third nation-wide lockdown being implemented after Christmas, but did not rule out the possibility.

“Provided we maintain the tiered approach for as long as necessary, I don’t think it’ll be necessary to go back into another full lockdown,” he told Kay Burley.

Minister warns we may not 'get back to normal' until next summer
George Eustice, the environment secretary

“You can’t rule anything out because this is a rapidly developing situation… It’s always difficult to predict what will happen.”

This comes after Doctors, scientists and the hospitality industry all say that Boris Johnson’s plans for a Christmas bubble is a mistake; for five days between the dates of the 23rd and the 27th of December, people throughout the UK will be able to mix with other families in a Christmas bubble.

A further 215 coronavirus-related deaths were announced in the UK on Sunday, taking the total to 58,245 fatalities, with 12,155 more cases of the virus, meaning that there have been 1,617,327 so far since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

A new study from the Imperial College London has found that the rate of COVID-19 infections in England have dropped by almost a third during the second national lockdown.

Thought it is not known if it was the lockdown itself that led to that dip since coronavirus case rates had already started decreasing, especially in the worst affected areas.

Eve Cooper
Eve Cooper
I've been writing articles and stories for as long as I can remember and in the past few years I've had the fortune of turning that love & passion for writing into my job 🙂

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