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
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.