Coronavirus UK: Second national lockdown would be ‘disastrous’ for Britain, PM warns

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Boris Johnson was asked by Conservative MP and chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, Julian Knight, whether the country could afford another national lockdown. Mr Johnson replied: “I don’t want a second national lockdown – I think it would be completely wrong for this country and we are going to do everything in our power to prevent it. And can we afford it? I very much doubt that the financial consequences would be anything but disastrous, but we have to make sure that we defeat the disease by the means that we have set out.

“So when I see people arguing against the rule of six or saying that the Government is coming in too hard on individual liberties and so on – I totally understand that and I sympathise with that, but we must, must defeat this disease.

“Mr Johnon went on to admit there was not enough coronavirus testing capacity.

He said: “We don’t have enough testing capacity now because, in an ideal world, I would like to test absolutely everybody that wants a test immediately.”

He promised that there would be capacity for 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.

But he urged people without symptoms to stay away from testing centres – although he acknowledged the reasons why they may want to find out if they had Covid-19.

“What has happened is demand has massively accelerated just in the last couple of weeks,” he told MPs.

He continued: “Many people are seeking to get a test in the hope that they can thereby be released to get on with their lives in the normal way – people who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive, for instance, they are seeking to get a test to ensure that they are OK to go to work.”

“That is perfectly reasonable, and I understand why people are doing that, but the advice and the guidance is that people should seek a test not in those circumstances but when they have symptoms.”

It comes as localised Covid-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland have become legally enforceable.

Residents in areas like Belfast and Ballymena are barred from visiting other households.

Police powers were introduced to stem an increase in cases of coronavirus.

Postcode areas may be added and removed from the local restrictions as patterns of infection change and further interventions and restrictions can be introduced as necessary.

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Health Minister Robin Swann said: “Last week the Executive made the difficult decision to introduce localised restrictions and sought the good will of the public to adhere to that request.

“I am very aware of the difficulties some of these restrictions might cause, however the decisions were not taken lightly.

“Regulations on the localised Covid-19 restrictions have now been laid, making them legally enforceable.”

The limits on social interaction between households in the Belfast council area, Ballymena town and postcode areas BT43, BT28 and BT29 were agreed by ministers last week and are now enacted in law.

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