The apprenticeship union supports Keir Starmer in calling for an urgent two-week breaker.

Two-week breakers would be temporarily harsh restrictions across the country to quell the virus before being lifted for some time and reintroduced if necessary.

Measures could include inter-household social bans, closing hospitality and leisure facilities such as bars and restaurants, or restricting their opening hours.

However, schools and offices are unlikely to close for the time being.

This form of lockdown was first proposed by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, which he implemented in April.

He closed all workplaces except those deemed essential and restricted public spaces and restaurants.

The idea is seen as a "last line of defense" in England last week, according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, with preference given to "local action".

North of the border in Scotland, a circuit breaker was seen as a temporary solution.

Starting October 9, pubs and bars in the central belt were banned from serving alcohol indoors for 16 days and they had to be closed until 6 p.m.

In large areas north of the border, restaurants are advised to close completely.

However, there is some debate about the implications of such a move, with some asking what happens once the circuit breaker lockout is complete.

A breaker was high on the list of coronavirus interventions recommended by expert advisors to the government over the past month.

A Sage document dated September 21, released just hours after the Prime Minister announced yesterday that the three-tier alert system for England was being set up, said a package of interventions will be required to reverse the exponential increase in cases.

At the top of the list is a breaker, a brief lockout to bring the incidence to a low level, followed by the advice to work from home for anyone who can.

Attendees at the September 21 meeting, held through Zoom, included Government Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance and Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty.

The document states that both local and national measures are required, adding: "Measures should not be applied in an overly specific geographical area."

A separate Sage document dated September 21, examining the efficacy and harms of non-pharmaceutical interventions, states that a circuit breaker reintroduced for two to three weeks should drop R below one.

In a break of fourteen days, two weeks of growth could be exchanged for two weeks of transmission decay, provided that the measures were followed carefully and the contacts did not increase further before or after the break.

“If this were as strict and well respected as the restrictions in late May, it could bring the epidemic back by about 28 days or more.

& # 39; The amount of & # 39; Time gained 'depends a lot on how fast the epidemic grows – the faster the growth or stricter measures, the more time is gained.

If the rules and behavior were then to revert to the values ​​before the circuit was broken, the exponential growth would pick up again, but from a much lower level than would have been the case without the break.

“The harmful effects would be maximized if it coincided with the school holidays.

"Multiple interruptions may be required to keep the incidence low," the document said.

On Monday evening, the wise scientist Professor Calum Semple warned that the new restrictions announced by the Prime Minister were late and that a breaker might be needed within weeks.

When asked if the response announced for London is sufficient to address the threat, the Liverpool University scientist told BBC Radio 4's Prime Minister: "I'm getting difficult and I say no, I think we're a little late to respond. "

He said there is a three to four week delay before interventions see benefits in hospitals.

"Myself and other people who spoke out in favor of fairly strict strict local interventions three to four weeks ago now fear that we are now in a different location," he said.

“And that in a few weeks we may need a much more solid intervention, the so-called circuit breaker.

"The outbreak is a bit like a supertanker. You brake, but it takes a long time to see the effect."

Community Secretary Robert Jenrick said today the government has taken "robust measures" amid allegations of ignoring its own scientists over a "breaker" lockdown on England.

Mr Jenrick said this included introducing the curfew rule for pubs and restaurants at 6am and 10pm, but the government had also taken a "balanced" approach to the situation.

Mr Jenrick told BBC Breakfast: “We have listened to this advice and taken action as always but these are balanced judgments.

"We must also weigh this against the economic, job and livelihood impacts, the education we have made a priority, and any other unintended consequences of interventions, be it people's mental health, other illnesses or elective surgery that could be delayed or canceled as a result.

"We have a balanced view of what was required at that moment and that is how we will continue to act."

Despite the reintroduction of restrictions on freedom, almost two-thirds of the public said they would support a Scottish breaker shutdown.

An exclusive survey for MailOnline last week found strong support for a "brief, sharp shock" of harsh restrictions across the country to break transmission chains.

The Redfield & Wilton poll found that 63 percent would be in favor of a temporary crackdown across the UK – including 33 percent strongly in favor.

In contrast, only 13 percent of 3,000 respondents said they were against moving.