England’s four-week national lockdown could be extended if coronavirus rates are not significantly reduced, a Cabinet member has admitted.
While the lockdown confirmed in a Downing Street briefing yesterday (October 31) should finish by December 2, there is consideration to extend it if need be according to Michael Gove.
The cabinet member told Sky News that the Government would review the data near the end of the proposed lockdown period, and he hopes that the reinfection rate would be “significantly reduced”.
But when asked if the national lockdown could be extended, he replied: “Yes.”
He said: “We want to be in a position where we can – and I believe that this is likely to be the case – have an approach where if we bring down the rate of infection sufficiently, we can reduce measures nationally but also reduce measures regionally.
“Because the regional approach is one that, wherever possible, we want to take because again we have to recognise it may be the case in the future that having reduced R below 1, having reduced national restrictions, we may see a specific upsurge in specific areas which will require specific regional measures.”
Mr Gove added it would be “foolish” to predict what would happen with the pandemic over the course of lockdown – and that a decision about whether the lockdown should be extended or not is something that would happen after reviewing its data.
He said; “With a virus this malignant, and its capacity to move so quickly, it would be foolish to predict with absolute certainty what will happen in four weeks’ time, when over the course of the last two weeks, its rate, its infectiousness and its malignancy have grown.
“And so therefore of course we will review what requires to be done but we have a clear plan over the next four-week (period) to support the economy and to protect the NHS”.
During his interview, Mr Gove also defended the Government’s decision to introduce another lockdown, after previously claiming it was “entirely possible” that a regional approach would have been enough to combat the virus and to keep much of the economy open.