Health Secretary warns of extensive lockdowns in event of second wave
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Nationwide restrictions cannot be ruled out should England see a spike in coronavirus cases this winter, the Health Secretary has warned.
Speaking to The Times, Matt Hancock said countries in others parts of the world were already experiencing a second wave, adding it was “a very serious threat”.
But he said the UK was managing to keep the number of new cases “flat” through the test and trace system and local lockdowns.
Describing the worst-case scenario, he said the UK could be battling bad flu and a growth in coronavirus as people spend more time indoors.
He continued: “Cases go up again, and we have to use very extensive local lockdowns or take further national action.
“We don’t rule that out, but we don’t want to see it.”
His comments come as local Covid-19 restrictions were eased in northern England, which will allow social gatherings between two homes from Wednesday in Bolton, Stockport, Trafford, Burnley, Hyndburn and parts of Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees.
Mr Hancock told The Times that a second wave could be “avoidable but it’s not easy”, with schools reopening next week presenting new challenges in stopping the spread of the virus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that schools were safe to attend as he encouraged every pupil to return to the classroom.
“The evidence is overwhelming that it is in the interest of the wellbeing and the health of children, young people, pupils, to be back in school rather than missing out any more,” he said.
“So, it is the healthy, safe thing to do.”