Sunday Mirror

SHOCKDOWN

Boris's lock­down de­lay will cost lives, say ex­perts Shut: Pubs and High St Open: Schools and col­leges Starmer: Pub­lic will pay price of PM’s fail­ures Government chaos fu­els grow­ing jobs cri­sis

- BY CHRIS McLAUGH­LIN and KEIR MUDIE chris.mclaugh­lin@mir­ror.co.uk Boris Johnson · England · South West England · United Kingdom · David Thomas King

DITHER­ING Boris John­son fi­nally plunged Eng­land into a lock­down last night – WEEKS af­ter be­ing ad­vised to by top sci­en­tists.

A four-week shut­down will close all but es­sen­tial shops and con­fine mil­lions of Brits to their homes.

Pubs and restau­rants can only do take­aways and the likes of gyms and hair­dressers will shut again.

The mea­sures are an at­tempt to save some sort of Christ­mas.

But the PM was ad­vised by his own sci­en­tists three weeks ago to bring in a two-week cir­cuit breaker lock­down. Crit­ics say it would have held the coro­n­avirus in check and the de­lay will in­evitably cost lives.

Pro­fes­sor David King, a for­mer chief government sci­en­tist and head of the In­de­pen­dent Sage group, said: “If we acted four weeks ago we would have had sub­stan­tially less cases and sub­stan­tially less deaths. Coun­tries that acted quickly have had the low­est deaths.

“It is very sim­ple. If you al­low the dis­ease to spread, as we have for a sec­ond time, the num­ber of cases goes up­wards at an ex­po­nen­tial rate. If we had gone into lock­down ear­lier it would been eas­ier to bring down the num­ber of cases rapidly.

“That would have had much less im­pact on the econ­omy – and, of course, on the death rate.” He spoke

as Eng­land braces it­self for the four­week shut­down, start­ing Thurs­day.

Schools and uni­ver­si­ties stay open but only es­sen­tial travel is al­lowed. Fur­lough, pay­ing 80 per cent of wages, is ex­tended un­til De­cem­ber.

The move came as the na­tion­wide to­tal of Covid-19 cases topped one mil­lion. Sci­en­tists painted a “very grim pic­ture” and warned of the po­ten­tial of up to 4,000 daily deaths un­less new re­stric­tions came in.

Mr John­son warned of hos­pi­tals run­ning out of beds in five weeks and the NHS be­ing over­whelmed. He said in a TV ad­dress: “The risk is that for the first time in our lives the NHS would not be there.

“Doc­tors and nurses would be forced to choose which pa­tients to treat, who would get oxy­gen and who wouldn’t, who would live and who would die.” Mr John­son said “no re­spon­si­ble PM” could ig­nore the alerts.

He said Christ­mas may be “very dif­fer­ent” – but he hoped fam­i­lies can be to­gether. Un­der the new mea­sures house­holds will not be al­lowed to mix in­side. Only two peo­ple from sep­a­rate house­holds can meet out­side.

Mr John­son acted af­ter be­ing told ar­eas like the South West – where cases are low – could be at lev­els in the North West by Novem­ber 27.

An­other 21,915 UK cases were con­firmed yes­ter­day. Deaths rose by 326, tak­ing the UK to­tal to 46,555.

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 ??  ?? STATE­MENT Prime Min­is­ter set to ad­dress MPs to­mor­row in Par­lia­ment
STATE­MENT Prime Min­is­ter set to ad­dress MPs to­mor­row in Par­lia­ment
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