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National ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown for England ruled out for now by Government

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has ruled out a national “circuit-breaker” lockdown to control the coronavirus resurgence “at the moment”.

Asked if the Government would take the measure on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday, he flatly replied: “No.

“It would seem an error to try to impose on every part of the country the same level of restriction when we know that the disease is spreading more intensively and quicker in some parts of the country.”

Pressed on whether the measure could be taken in the future, he said: “We always look at how the disease spreads and we will take whatever steps are necessary to maintain public health.

“But Kate (Green, shadow education secretary) and the Labour Party are arguing the blanket restrictions across the country at the moment and the spread and nature of the disease does not merit that at the moment.”

Kate Green said that a two to three-week circuit-breaker would give the UK time to put better local tracing processes in place.

The shadow education secretary said: “What we can see already with the local lockdowns, I mean here in Manchester, we’ve been in a local lockdown of sorts since the end of July.

“Rates are continuing to rise with the measures we have now, they’re not working so we have to try something different.”

Ms Green continued: “Nobody can guarantee what’s going to happen in what are the most uncertain and unpredictable circumstances but we do know what makes a difference, what actions need to be taken during those two or three weeks to begin to bear down on the rate of the spread of the virus.

“We know that tracing contacts of those who have tested positive is absolutely crucial to managing the virus. Two or three weeks would give us time to put better local tracing processes in place.

“We know that swift testing and getting the results back swiftly is key to managing the spread of the virus. Two to three weeks would give us time to invest in and boost our lab capacity.”

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