ENTERTAINMENT

Scientists warn Boris Johnson that there is no alternative to the second national lockdown


The prime minister said a second lockdown was the "last thing anyone wants" but said his administration was considering whether to "go further" than the current national restrictions put in place this week

Government scientists scared Boris Johnson with warnings of hundreds of daily coronavirus deaths "within weeks" when they told the terrified Prime Minister: "There is no alternative to a second national lockdown".

Mr Johnson is now threatening to "tighten" coronavirus restrictions as early as Tuesday as he blames the UK public for the rise in cases – despite repeated requests to people to go back to offices and eat out to see the revive volatile UK economy.

The prime minister is trying to abandon his rule of six and introduce "breakers" nationwide for a fortnight after claims it was "inevitable" that a second wave would hit the country last night.

The new approach to getting the UK through the winter would lead to tougher measures, including bans on all social contact between households and closing hospitality and leisure facilities such as bars and restaurants with intervals of relaxation. Schools are being closed as a "last resort," a Whitehall source claimed.

It is believed that the new circuit shutdown could be announced via television press conference on Tuesday, reminiscent of the government's behavior during the height of the pandemic.

How could the circuit breaker work?

The government is considering what has been called a "breaker" to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.

But it wouldn't be quite as draconian as the lockdown imposed at the previous height of the crisis in March.

Instead, it resembles the locks that have been introduced locally in areas with high infection rates.

Hopes that short, harsh measures can break the chain of transmission, restrictions could be imposed nationwide for two weeks.

BLOCKED:

  • People are only allowed to socialize with their own household or their support bubble.
  • Curfews and restrictions on activities in public spaces such as city centers and parks.
  • Face masks must be worn in public areas and in different locations.
  • Pubs and restaurants as well as other companies such as hairdressers and beauty salons could either be closed completely or their opening times could be severely restricted.
  • The edict to work from home wherever possible could be reintroduced after Boris Johnson spent months urging people to return to the offices.

UNLOCKED

  • Non-essential stores and jobs would remain open to avoid further catastrophic damage to the economy.
  • The schools would likely continue to exist after ministers warned of the massive impact on student prospects.
  • There is speculation that the curbs could be rolled out at mid-term in late October – if the government can wait that long, with cases doubling every eight days.
  • Healthcare and dentistry are likely to continue instead of being reduced to urgent care as in the previous lockdown.

Speaking at the Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Center construction site near Oxford, Mr. Johnson said, “What I can say about parents and schools is that we want to keep schools open, that's going to happen.

“We want to try to keep all parts of the economy open as much as possible. I don't think anyone wants to take a second ban, but when you look at what's happening, you have to wonder if we are going to have to go further than the rule of six that we put in place on Monday so we will look at local lockdowns we now have across much of the country and examine what we can do to step up the things that are helping to get that infection rate down there, but other measures as well. & # 39;

Officials, including UK chief physician Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, are likely to advocate strict restrictions as panic mounts in official circles.

Today the original lockdown architect recommended that the government, Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London, sooner rather than later push back freedoms by lowering contact rates between people.

The epidemiologist, who was fired from SAGE for disregarding his own lockdown rules, told BBC Radio 4's Today program: “Right now we're about the same infection level we saw in late February if we leave it at two more For four weeks we will be back at the level that we saw in mid-March.

"That will clearly lead to deaths … I think some additional measures are likely to be needed sooner rather than later. The timing of a more intense policy, a temporary policy, is questionable."

However, the measures are believed to have sparked protests from Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who warned of the introduction of new blanket restrictions by pointing out enormous damage that has already been done to the economy.

Government sources claim that Mr Sunak gave the Prime Minister "dire warnings" in highlighting the severity of the damage inflicted on the UK economy as a result of the March lockdown – while Mr Johnson shook off the "dire" economic forecasts, claiming that "He was confident that everything will be fine in the end. "

Business leaders agreed with the Chancellor's concerns and warned that a second lockdown would weigh on the economy. The UK Chambers of Commerce said: "Uncertainty and speculation about future national restrictions will damage business and consumer confidence at a delicate moment for the economy."

The government's handling of the crisis is believed to be part of Mr. Johnson's mind. Sources # 10 insist that he already has the next general election in mind. But with Sir Keir Starmer's Labor Party now going hand in hand with the Tories in the election, those behind it – furious at Mr Johnson's "insane" threat to forego his Brexit divorce treaty – could by then have a riot think.

The dramatic move came when daily infections in the UK hit a four-month high of 4,322. The numbers show that in a week the outbreak nearly doubled and the R number may be 1.4.

Parts of England will be locked again, with curbs including a 10 p.m. pubs and restaurant curfew and a ban on socializing outside households in the North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire starting Tuesday. A total of around 13 million people are currently exposed to local restrictions.

In other coronavirus developments:

  • London Mayor Sadiq Khan held an emergency meeting on "speeding up" Covid in the capital, saying additional restrictions on coronavirus would be needed.
  • Another 4,322 confirmed cases have been registered nationally – the highest figure since May 8 – with officials warning that Covid-19 has "spread widely" across the UK.
  • Official figures suggest that the total has nearly doubled in one week to around 6,000 a day in England alone.
  • Local lockdown restrictions have been extended to around 13 million people, of whom 3.5 million were in the North West, West Yorkshire and the Midlands.
  • The Scottish and Welsh leaders, as well as the Labor leaders, called for an emergency Cobra meeting;
  • The police continued to warn the coronavirus of a "fatal threat" and demanded compliance with the rule of six
Government scientists have sent Boris Johnson warnings of hundreds of daily coronavirus deaths

Government scientists scared Boris Johnson with warnings of hundreds of daily coronavirus deaths "within weeks" of telling the terrified Prime Minister, "There is no alternative to a second national lockdown."

Mr Johnson now threatens to tighten restrictions on coronavirus as early as Tuesday, including banning small gatherings of friends and family, as he blames the UK public for the increase in cases

Mr Johnson threatened to tighten restrictions on coronavirus as early as Tuesday, including banning small gatherings of friends and family members as he blames the UK public for the rise in cases

Three revelers pose for a photo in Newcastle city center as the bars closed at 10pm last night after new curfews

Three revelers pose for a photo in Newcastle city center as the bars closed at 10pm last night after new curfews

A graph shows where the latest restrictions are being enforced across the UK

A graph shows where the latest restrictions are being enforced across the UK

Is there really another increase in hospital stays? Officials warn that UK hospital stays are doubling every eight days - but data shows that even current hospital stays are only a fraction of those that occurred at the height of the pandemic

Is there really another increase in hospital stays? Officials warn that UK hospital stays are doubling every eight days – but data shows that even current hospital stays are only a fraction of those that occurred at the height of the pandemic

SAGE advisor Professor Graham Medley, the new architect of the government's response to the coronavirus, has advocated a mid-term break in leisure and hospitality, claiming that short, planned periods of time in which R can drop below one increase the risk of longer “Unplanned measures can significantly reduce emergency locks”.

"This option needs to be balanced with local and more targeted measures that are less economically and socially disruptive but so far have not appeared to have prevented an exponential increase in infection," he said.

London Lockdown IS is likely to admit Mayor Sadiq Khan after getting out of the emergency meeting due to a lack of testing in the capital. He warns: "We shouldn't wait for the virus to get out of control."

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has admitted that it is "increasingly likely" that lockdown restrictions will soon be needed to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the capital.

Mr Khan said he was "firmly of the view" that action should be taken before the virus spiral gets out of hand, and leaders are considering measures already in place in other parts of the UK.

In a statement, he said he had an emergency meeting with the London Council Chairs, the government and Public Heath England (PHE) to discuss next steps.

Mr Khan added: “The Prime Minister has said that we are now seeing the start of a second wave of Covid-19 across the UK. Londoners should also know that I am extremely concerned with the latest evidence I saw today from public health experts about the accelerating rate at which Covid-19 is now spreading here in London.

& # 39; It is becoming increasingly likely that additional measures will soon be needed in London to slow the spread of the virus. We are going to look at some of the measures that have already been taken in other parts of the UK.

"I firmly believe that we shouldn't wait six months for this virus to get out of hand before we take action."

"If we need to have another lockdown period, it's probably better to know in advance when and how long it will be before individuals and companies can prepare."

SAGE advisor Professor Susan Michie warned ministers not to repeat the mistake of the March lockdown too slowly in implementing measures, as she suggested closing pubs, bars and restaurants to reduce the number of households, if possible by work from home and extend vacation until 2021.

“We need a stitch in time. We have to learn the lessons of spring. Delaying a gradual change in transmission restriction measures on a daily basis, if it increases exponentially, will be costly to health and life in the short term and the economy in the long term, ”she told The Daily Telegraph.

Another SAGE advisor called for longer and faster bans, saying it was "the only thing we really know" that works, according to The Times. A Whitehall source said official circles feared being "sluggish" if they were slow to respond to rising cases, adding, "It feels like we're back where we were in February and March were."

The nightingale hospitals were ordered today to be operational again within 48 hours – and another part of England has been closed. Health bosses have announced that the makeshift hospital in the Birmingham NEC arena has been made ready to start treating patients in two to three days.

Yvonne Doyle, Head of Public Health England, said: “We are seeing clear signs that this virus is now spreading to all age groups and I am particularly concerned about the increase in hospital admissions and critical care among the elderly. This could be a warning of far worse things. & # 39;

A senior government source told The Daily Telegraph: “The prime minister has a very difficult challenge.

& # 39; At the moment we are on the same path as Spain and France. Spain (on Thursday) recorded 240 deaths – they are six weeks ahead of us so it is now being translated from cases to deaths.

"If we don't do anything in mid to late October, we'll obviously find ourselves in a situation that looks more like we're earlier in the year."

The government is also exploring the possibility of introducing "targeted shielding" that would give people with serious medical conditions tailored advice.

Hold the Cobra meeting NOW and call on Sir Keir Starmer and Nicola Sturgeon while the Prime Minister imposes restrictions in England

Nicola Sturgeon and Sir Keir Starmer yesterday urged the Prime Minister to convene an emergency Cobra meeting this weekend to discuss the rise in cases.

The first Scottish minister said she had asked for a meeting between Boris Johnson and the decentralized administrations.

She also warned of further national restrictions, telling Scots that "hard but necessary" decisions may have to be made in the next few days.

Miss Sturgeon said she hoped to avoid a second national lockdown, adding, "Ideally we can have a common approach across the UK." She added that she couldn't remember the last time she spoke to Mr Johnson. The union leader Sir Keir repeated her request. He said, "This is the time for quick, decisive national action."

Ms. Sturgeon claimed that most of the recent discussions between the government and the three decentralized administrations concerned the cabinet minister, Michael Gove, rather than the prime minister.

Unlike before, when more than two million people across England were given blanket orders to stay at home for several months, individuals were given more specific recommendations based on how vulnerable they were.

In No. 10 there is concern that people are violating the “rule of six” that came into force in England on Monday.

Mr Johnson said last night he was considering whether the government should "go further" than current national restrictions.

He said: “We are looking very closely at the spread of the pandemic in the last few days and there is no question, as I have said for several weeks, that we can expect (and) that we will now see a second wave coming in.

"We see it in France, in Spain, all over Europe – I'm afraid it was absolutely inevitable that we would see it in this country."

Spain recorded 239 deaths in a single day this week.

The prime minister insisted that a second lockdown is the "last thing anyone wants" but said current measures should be "reviewed".

He added, “On Monday we put in place the measures we were taking, the 'Rule of Six', to really try to limit people's activities and introduce a new buffer.

“But the bottom line is also adhering to the basic rules of social distancing – hands, face, space – that's what everyone has to do if we're going to keep beating this thing.

“But if we look at this particular corner and what is happening now, we will of course keep an eye on everything. I don't want to get into a second national lockdown at all – it's the last thing anyone wants.

“I don't want to take any major lockdown measures at all, we want to keep the schools open. We want to keep the economy as open as possible, we want to keep companies running.

"Obviously, the only way we can do that is if people follow the directions."

When asked about the possibility of a two-week half-time in October to get a brief lockdown, Mr Johnson said, “We want to keep the schools open, that's going to happen. We want to try to keep all parts of the economy open as much as possible. & # 39;

Earlier in the day, Matt Hancock suggested that action should be taken over the next year.

The Minister of Health said: “The strategy is to keep the virus as low as possible while protecting education and the economy. And doing all we can for the cavalry looming – the vaccination and mass tests and treatments that this country has frankly developed more than any other in the world. & # 39;

Coronavirus cases have increased rapidly in north east England. Newcastle saw its weekly infection rate jump from 51.2 cases per 100,000 people to 64.1 in the seven days ended September 13

Coronavirus cases have increased rapidly in north east England. Newcastle saw its weekly infection rate jump from 51.2 cases per 100,000 people to 64.1 in the seven days ended September 13

Hundreds of revelers came to the city last night in Newcastle to sink their last pints before a 10pm curfew, while Leeds partygoers made the most of their last weekend of freedom when the city was close to its own lockdown

Hundreds of revelers came to the city last night in Newcastle to sink their last pints before a 10pm curfew, while Leeds partygoers made the most of their last weekend of freedom when the city was close to its own lockdown

The numbers behind new bans: Covid hospital stays could hit levels seen in the first wave of OCTOBER, experts warn, as ONS estimates England's outbreak doubled in a week

Increasing hospital stays for people with coronavirus could lead to the approval values ​​not seen since April next month being reached. Current trends show that Matt Hancock warns that patient numbers are doubling every eight days.

Another 4,322 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19, the government announced today in its highest one-day surge since May 8, when a series of worrying statistics revealed that the Covid-19 crisis appears to be recovering.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, 6,000 people in England develop the life-threatening disease every day, while hospital admissions have doubled in a week, with government scientists warning the R-rate could now be 1.4.

The health minister has warned that another blanket national lockdown is the "last line of defense" but said now is a "big moment for the country".

Government data shows that 183 newly infected Covid-19 patients were admitted to hospitals in England on Wednesday, compared with 84 eight days ago and just 38 on August 30th. This means an average of 160 patients need NHS care every day – three times the number from 52 on September 1.

Hundreds of revelers came to the city last night in Newcastle to sink their last pints before a 10pm curfew, while Leeds partygoers made the most of their last weekend of freedom when the city was close to its own lockdown .

Students and young people seemed unwavering by the new early curfew as they flocked to the Big Market – a popular area of ​​bars and pubs in Newcastle – and drinks back in the early evening.

Young women were shown laughing and cheering with their last pints before being kicked out by the bar staff at 10 p.m. Some night owls obviously weren't through with the nightly party and saw them pick up alcohol from local stores after the pubs closed.

Police officers were seen overlooking empty streets as party goers went home and the city center went eerily quiet for a Friday night.

Meanwhile, Leeds took to the streets in droves as the city faced its own lockdown after a surge in coronavirus cases. Groups of people gathered downtown and queued for bars when bouncers used temperature rifles on patrons as part of new security measures.

Strict new restrictions to combat the spread of the coronavirus were announced for the north-east of England yesterday evening, ahead of further rules announced today in parts of the North-West, Midlands and West Yorkshires.

The latest measures, which include a 10 p.m. curfew on pubs and bars, affect Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, Northumberland, South Tyneside, North Tyneside and County Durham.

Similar lockdown measures will then go into effect starting Tuesday in Lancashire, Merseyside, Warrington, Halton, Wolverhampton, Oadby and Wigston, as well as parts of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale.

The residents of these areas are prohibited from socializing in houses or gardens with people outside their household or in the "bubble", and dining options are limited to table service. Restaurants, bars and pubs must close between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Drinkers flocked to watering holes in the northeast for one final night of carnage last night after Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the area would experience a 10pm curfew in pubs and bars starting tonight.

Those in Newcastle, where 40,000 university students are expected to return in the coming days, have been photographed in front of busy clubs and bars in the immediate vicinity despite the growing number of Covid-19 cases in the area.

Similar scenes were spotted in Leeds last night as a rising number of infections in the city led to warnings that it could soon head in the same direction as other parts of West Yorkshire with additional restrictions.

The stepped-up measures announced today in parts of the North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire mean a total of 13 million people across the UK are subject to lockdown restrictions.

It comes as Mr. Hancock admitted that a new national crackdown was imminent, as he warned infections "are accelerating across the country" and more people will die from the pandemic.

The health minister urged the public to "come together to fight this virus" as ministers consider imposing draconian restrictions on a "circuit break" for two weeks to stop the spread.

The night owls still had a great time in Newcastle city center despite the curfew at 10pm tonight

Revelers still had a great time in Newcastle city center despite the 10pm curfew tonight

Newcastle drinkers were booted out of the pub at 10 p.m. as the city got used to the newly imposed lockdown

Newcastle drinkers were booted out of the pub at 10 p.m. as the city got used to the newly imposed lockdown

Young people enjoyed a night out in Newcastle tonight but enjoyed it at 10pm due to a newly imposed curfew

Young folks enjoyed a night out in Newcastle tonight but enjoyed it at 10pm due to a newly imposed curfew

Policemen overlook the normally billowing Big Market area of ​​Newcastle. The pubs will close at 10 p.m. due to a new local lockdown to help fight the pandemic

Policemen overlook Newcastle's normally billowing Big Market area. The pubs will close at 10 p.m. due to a new local lockdown to help fight the pandemic

Hospitals are warned to vacate beds in TWO WEEKS and prepare for a surge in coronavirus patients as hospital admissions double every eight days

Hospitals have been warned that they will have to vacate beds in the next few weeks and prepare for a surge in coronavirus patients.

Covid-19 cases, hospital admissions and deaths rise, government figures announced yesterday, as more than 10 million people will soon be living under local lockdowns as the northeast was the last to put restrictions.

Yesterday, an additional 3,395 Covid-19 infections were recorded, meaning the rolling average number of cases in seven days rose 2 percent in one day and 33 percent in a week to 3,354.

The spike gives cause for concern that the country is nearing a second peak of the virus. MPs in London have been briefed on plans to raise beds in the capital, The Telegraph reports.

The beds are made available to coronavirus patients who no longer require hospital treatment but can recover from illness while in isolation.

Mr Hancock said a national lockdown was the "last line of defense". He cautioned, however, that it was a "big moment for the country" with cases now doubling every eight days, and if the six rules restrictions didn't work, more would have to be done.

"The virus is increasing significantly across the country," he told Sky News. “We have to take the necessary measures to keep people safe. We will do everything we can to keep people safe. & # 39;

He also insisted that coronavirus tests be available, although people wait in line for hours only to be turned away by staff when they arrive at the swab centers.

No. 10 officials have stated they are unaware of anything, suggesting that tests are not available "in some parts of the country" amid reports of a nationwide test fiasco.

When asked about the availability of tests, a spokesman for No. 10 told reporters, “We are increasing capacity or are working on increasing capacity on tests. We are obviously targeting these tests in areas where we see higher rates of infection.

He was asked, “Are you saying that tests are available in all parts of the country, even though many of our readers and viewers say they are not?

He replied, “You saw the words of the Minister of Health. I am not aware of anything to suggest that tests are not available in some parts of the country. & # 39;

But desperate British people have spoken of their fight for a coronavirus swab this week. Two parents missed an appointment for their sick daughter because they were stuck in traffic for three hours.

Parents Thandio and Marcio missed their seats at the newly opened testing center in Catford, Lewisham after being stuck in a traffic jam that led to the facility.

Her 11-year-old daughter had been hospitalized in an ambulance that morning, but when she was discharged, A&E doctors told her parents to book her for a swab at a testing center, the Telegraph reported.

They told the local newspaper: “There is nobody here. We had an appointment, but we missed it because we got stuck in traffic. She needs to be isolated and our other children cannot go to school. & # 39;

Meanwhile, a senior scientist warned Covid testing "is dying" when he said he was "appalled by what I saw in government testing labs".

Concerns were raised about the government's seven "lighthouse labs" and their ability to process results due to staff and equipment shortages.

The percentage of people getting their Covid-19 test results within 24 hours has decreased across all types of tests, today's performance data showed

The percentage of people getting their Covid-19 test results within 24 hours has decreased across all types of tests, today's performance data showed

Genome scientist and inventor Phil Robinson, who was invited to one of the laboratories to see how they work, said it was poorly managed, out of staff and not in place automatic processes – despite fears that it would inevitably affect the UK would be a second wave.

He told the Times, “Every part of the process was bad. The other ridiculous problem is that 20 different types of tubes come into the lab. If you run a high throughput lab, it only makes sense to have one. I don't know why they didn't standardize.

“Testing is dying because schools are returning and we're back. You have not used this embargo period to implement the automation. & # 39;

Amid the chaos in the laboratories, the government's testing and tracing system has also been criticized as "barely functional". It took employees up to two weeks to contact friends, relatives and work colleagues of those who tested positive for Covid-19.

Baroness Dido Harding, who runs the testing and traceability system, admitted yesterday that demand for swabs is up to four times the capacity of the UK, but stated that the sudden spike as children returned to school and parents returned to the office, warnings had not been predicted despite repeated events.

The government's testing fiasco has resulted in hundreds of people lining up in a south London testing center for Covid swabs being turned away after failing to receive vital QR codes, while other locations across the country have been virtually deserted .

National or local lockdown, shielding, curfew or nothing? With Covid infections doubling every week, the debate rages … what is best for the UK, asks BEN SPENCER

It's the UK debate. Covid infections are doubling every week and experts believe the death toll will rise soon. Should ministers act quickly to stop a second wave or hold back to prevent further damage to the economy? With no easy options, these are some of the options they are considering.

DO NOTHING

Just continue with the current restrictions until spring.

On the first day after the strict coronavirus curfew was introduced, Newcastle revelers enjoy drinks

On the first day after the strict coronavirus curfew was introduced, Newcastle revelers enjoy drinks

PROS: The March lockdown successfully contained infections but had a devastating impact on businesses, education and the NHS. Boris Johnson is desperate to avoid repetition. There is a strong argument that the need for action is nowhere near as urgent as it was in spring.

We now know that the virus only affects the elderly. Doctors can treat it much better and they now have effective drugs. And while our test system isn't what it should be, the capacity is 25 times larger than it was in March. Mortality rates are tiny right now – suicides, flu and pneumonia claim far more lives than the dreaded coronavirus.

Cons: It is clear that Covid is spiraling out of control in France, Spain and the US. If the UK doesn't do something, it can go the same way – with a wave of deaths as infections spread from youth to vulnerable groups.

CHANCE OF THIS HAPPENING: 1/5

LOCAL LOCKDOWNS

Local restrictions already in place across much of the UK with 13 million people could be expanded if outbreaks flare up.

PROS: Targeted, proportionate restrictions in virus hotspots slow down the spread and protect the rest of the country. This was successfully done in Leicester over the summer, with prices falling quickly.

Cons: Such specific measures rely on an effective testing and tracing program – and at the moment the system is not up to date. Critics also point out that rates have actually continued to rise in many parts of the Northwest that have been restricted for weeks are. And with the local lockdown extended to the northeast and Lancashire, it now affects more than 13 million people.

Since the lives of so many British citizens have been cut short, this is arguably just a national lockdown imposed by secrecy. Local actions are also controversial – national unity will be badly hit if only half the country is allowed to celebrate Christmas with the family.

CHANCE OF THIS HAPPENING: 4/5

SHIELDING

Most young people are hardly affected by Covid. So a logical solution is to shield older people.

Most young people are hardly affected by Covid. So a logical solution is to shield older people

Most young people are hardly affected by Covid. So a logical solution is to shield older people

PROS: This could protect the most vulnerable while also allowing the rest of the population to keep the economy going. According to reports, the government already has tentative plans to assign a "risk assessment" to anyone over 50.

Cons: A raw version was used during the initial lockdown, asking 2.2 million people with cancer, asthma, and other conditions to stay inside. This scheme was fraught with problems – in fact, many of those asked to protect were not particularly vulnerable. Any new system would have to be far more targeted.

But it would depend heavily on age – by far the biggest risk factor for Covid. This is rejected by many retirees who see themselves as perfectly healthy. It is also impossible to effectively shield those who need it most – nursing home residents who need contact with caregivers.

CHANCE OF THIS HAPPENING: 4/5

BLOCKING HOUR

Curfews for bar and restaurant opening have already been used in many areas – and could be rolled out nationwide.

PROS: The surge in infection rates this summer was due to young people gathering in pubs, homes and at illegal raves. Curfews, which are being tried out in Bolton and other areas, are designed to prevent this from happening by closing restaurants and pubs at 10 p.m. This is arguably a proportionate response – it is better to ask the pubs to close an hour or two earlier than to force them to close completely.

Cons: It is clearly harmful to the hospitality industry and is widely viewed as a deterrent restriction on personal freedoms. Curfews can only do so much. After all, the majority of the population is not on the road after 10 p.m.

CHANCE OF THIS HAPPENING: 4/5

CIRCUIT BREAK

This is the option that will be considered most carefully. Ministers hope a brief embargo of just two weeks will stop the pattern of infections and reinfections that are driving the cases high.

PROS: If people fail to meet and interact, the virus cannot be transmitted between them, the chain of transmission is broken, and infection rates no longer rise. If done quickly, it can nip the problem in the bud before rates soar to dangerous levels. And when imposed over the October half-year, it will have a limited impact on children's education. Scientists hope that such a measure will also give room to breathe so that the test program gets back on track. And if the infection rates drop enough, it can even end up around Christmas.

Cons: Scientists fear cases will pick up again once restrictions are lifted. This increases the country's prospect of an on-off lockdown pattern until a vaccine becomes available. Two weeks just might not be long enough – which means restrictions drag on and on, leading to a complete lockdown.

CHANCE OF THIS HAPPENING: 4/5

NATIONAL LOCKDOWN

A return to spring-style nationwide measures that resulted in most people being forced to work from home, with schools, non-essential shops and workplaces closed.

A return to spring-style nationwide measures would have most people work from home as venues such as pubs are closed

A return to spring-style nationwide measures would have most people work from home as venues such as pubs are closed

PROS: When Covid infections spiral out of control and coincide with a bad winter flu season, the death toll can be huge. Mr Johnson might have no choice but to order another lockdown.

There are also ways to mitigate the blow – especially keeping schools open. Many scholars now believe that the last time schools closed was unnecessary. Children are not at risk from the virus, but their education and mental health have been immeasurably damaged by being kept at home. It also made it difficult for parents to work.

Cons: This is the "nuclear" option the Prime Minister does not want to take, an extreme that even the darkest scholars are not currently advocating.

With the onset of “crisis fatigue” it could also be much more difficult for him to convince people to follow the rules a second time. And even a scaled-down version of national restrictions would do more harm than good. The economy is already below the waterline – a return to lockdown could sink it completely.

CHANCE OF THIS HAPPENING: 2/5

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