National News: Second lockdown not ruled out and new household ban being considered

Matt Hancock has not ruled out a second local lockdown as government meets to discuss new measures.

Matt Hancock has not ruled out a second local lockdown as government meets to discuss new measures. - Credit: Archant

Health secretary Matt Hancock has warned a second national lockdown has not been ruled out to curb the spread of coronavirus.

He said fresh nationwide restrictions would be the “last line of defence” as he responded to reports ministers are considering further national measures, even for just a two-week period, such as imposing a curfew on bars and restaurants.

Mr Hancock pointed out the “great hope” is that people will heed the government’s current advice to help manage a “very serious” situation.

The news comes after a week during whcih a primary school pupil in Huntingdon tested positive for Covid-19, and endless reports of people across Huntingdon expressing their frustrations about the NHS Test and Trace system.

Parents have been unable to get tests for their children and get them back to school and hundreds have been frustrated with the testing helpline. They have complained of being kept on the phone for 90-minutes and still unable to get through and the website has not been available either.

Ministers have come under fire over the NHS Test and Trace system, which has seen up to four times the number of people trying to book a test as the number of tests available.

Latest data shows hospital admissions are now doubling every eight days.

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Mr Hancock said: it was “absolutely critical” that people followed the rule of having no more than six people at a gathering, while those living under local restrictions should ensure they are sticking to advice.

Boris Johnson will spend the weekend considering whether to tighten Covid-19 measures in England, after saying the UK was “now seeing a second wave”.

The Government is understood to be looking at a ban on households mixing, and reducing opening hours for pubs and restaurants.

At least 13.5 million people, roughly one in five of the UK population, are already facing local restrictions.