Government ‘draws up drastic plans’ to combat second wave of Covid-19

The top levels of Government have been locked in talks about how to deal with a second wave of coronavirus, according to reports.

The Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times claim radical proposals – likened to the nuclear deterrent – have been drawn up in a response to a rise in cases.

New Covid-19 cases are on the rise across the UK including in Coventry and most parts of Warwickshire in the past week.

The ‘drastic’ plans to avoid a second national lockdown have been drawn up by the Government.

This comes after Boris Johnson put a halt to the easing of lockdown on Friday, including cancelling the reopening of ice rinks and casinos.

Parts of the North West and Yorkshire were given fresh restrictions with social gatherings banned indoors and in private gardens.

Meanwhile, there have been warnings family get-togethers will have to be scrapped.

And CoventryLive reported yesterday how pubs and restaurants may have to be closed to allow for the “absolute priority” of reopening schools.

The reports claim that the elderly and vulnerable could be asked once again to stay at home to enable the younger, less susceptible people to continue working while keeping death rates low.

Part of the “enhanced” or “differential” shielding plans could be to have exclusive weekly slots for the elderly to visit shops and access services,  the Mirror reports.

A city-wide lockdown on London is also reportedly being considered, with restrictions on travel in and out of the M25 in the event of a spike of cases in the capital.

The Sunday Times said Mr Johnson held a “war game” session with Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday to run through possible options for averting another nationwide lockdown that could stall any potential economic recovery.

Meanwhile tightening quarantine restrictions on those flying into the UK and “harder”
local lockdowns than the restrictions imposed last week are all under consideration.

The change in tone from the government comes after a small uptick in coronavirus cases nationally over the last few weeks in the UK.

Just a few weeks ago, Mr Johnson was speaking of a return to normality by Christmas.

But since then he spoke of signs of a second wave in Europe, with daily cases back over 3,000 in Spain, prompting the country to be removed from the UK’s quarantine-free travel list.

A senior Whitehall source told the Telegraph: “We are hopeful that fast action, regional
lockdowns and quarantines will stop the need for any more substantive action.

“However we prepare for all scenarios, and officials are currently drawing up an array of policy options to present to the Prime Minister.”

The blueprint to avoid another lockdown comes after people shielding were finally freed from the shackles for the first time on Saturday.

In Wales, the advice remains in place until August 16.

The enhanced shielding plans may include more people, based on ages and risk factors identified since March.

It could even see those aged between 50 and 70 given “personalised risk ratings”, said the Times.

It is believed that encouraging “shielding afternoons” or “shielding hours” for the most vulnerable to access shops and services is part of the plans.

Supermarkets introduced priority shopping hours for the elderly and vulnerable at the start
of the national lockdown in March.

The Government is also thought to be considering a national ban on people from different households meeting indoors, in the event that test and trace figures suggest that such social contact is partly responsible, as Matt Hancock claimed last week was the case in the badly-hit parts of northern England.

Downing Street sources have distanced themselves from the detail in the reports, calling them “speculative”.



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