As the country enters a new three tier system to combat the coronavirus, calls are growing for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to impose a new lockdown.
Many papers today led with stories about leader of the opposition Keir Starmer calling for a short lockdown or ‘circuit breaker’ to try and bring the virus into check. Starmer accused the Prime minister of having “lost control” of the virus.
But even without Starmer’s call, there is speculation that the Prime Minister will impose a lockdown of perhaps two weeks during the school half-term vacation. It is thought that such a lockdown could save perhaps thousands of lives.
Given that a lockdown now appears likely, it is thought that Starmer is trying to benefit politically, by appearing to drive the Johnson into following his suggestion.
Meanwhile, the three tier system was introduced yesterday, with the breakdown being tier one – medium risk, tier two – high risk and the tier three being the highest risk – very high.
Medium risk entails continuing the previously imposed restrictions, including the rule of six (no groups larger than six people). High goes a step further in disallowing mixing in homes. But tier three has stiffer restrictions, including the closure of pubs that don’t serve food.
While most of the country is currently at tier one, Liverpool is currently at tier three. Many in the city have not taken kindly to being the first to get the designation and crowds turned out in the streets last night for a last blast of social drinking.
Next in line could be Greater Manchester in Lancashire, with health officials meeting to discuss that topic today.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland announced greater restrictions this morning. Schools will shut for two weeks, while pubs will shut for four weeks except for deliveries and take aways.