Government gives itself two weeks for its “rule of six” law reduce coronavirus infections, according to report
If infections don’t fall, tough lockdown measures will be reimposed, ITV reports
UK has seen spike in new infections in past week
The government has given itself two weeks for its “rule of six” coronavirus law to work before it reimposes tougher lockdown measures, according to a report.
ITV’s Robert Peston has reported that if the “rule of six” – which bans most social gatherings of more than six people in England – has not reduced the number of COVID-19 infections by the end of September, then further lockdown measures will be reintroduced.
Peston quoted a Downing Street insider as saying: “There is no possibility of us waiting for the death rate to rise before we act.”
All social distancing measures apart from school closures will be considered, it was reported.
Watch: What is the new ‘rule of six’?
“Lockdown is the only thing that we know works, to be frank,” a scientific advisor was quoted as saying.
Boris Johnson’s nationwide lockdown, imposed on 23 March, ultimately led to a dramatic reduction in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths.
He began lifting the lockdown in May, with sections of the economy allowed to reopen in mid-June.
Number 10 has since been imposing targeted lockdowns, such as the one in Leicester, to deal with local outbreaks.
However, the last week has seen a spike in the UK’s overall infections. As of Tuesday (15 September), the seven-day average of new cases was 3,018, as compared to 1,215 on 15 August and 489 on 15 July.
On the other hand, the UK’s daily death count remains relatively low: 27 on Tuesday compared to a high of 1,166 on 21 April.
It comes as the government faces major issues with the coronavirus testing system.
Problems have included huge queues for tests, people reporting they have been unable to get tests, and others being offered tests hundreds of miles from their homes.
Watch: How to remove a face covering correctly
And health secretary Matt Hancock admitted in the House of Commons on Tuesday that the issues will take “weeks” to solve as he introduced a priority system for tests.
Meanwhile, the Evening Standard has reported curfews could be imposed in London to fight a second COVID-19 wave, in an attempt to avoid a more stringent lockdown.