Covid Scotland: UK Government denies reports of October 'firebreak' lockdown

By Rachel Wearmouth & James Delaney

The UK government could impose a two-week “firebreak” lockdown next month in a bid to limit the number of coronavirus hospitalisations, according to reports.

The i suggested the government’s Sage advisory committee had drawn up plans for restrictions during the autumn half term in a bid to thwart the impact of the virus on the NHS heading into the winter months.

A Sage member told the newspaper that the UK is now set to enter “an extended period of infections” and that “last resort” measures may be taken.

However, the UK government denied such plans were being considered, stating alternative contingency plans were in place.

The source told The i: "This is essentially the precautionary break that Sage suggested last year.

“It would be sensible to have contingency plans, and if a lockdown is required, to time it so that it has minimal economic and societal impact.”

They added: “Hospitals might be overflowing before deaths reach the same level. Acting early will prevent this level.”

43.4m people have been given both doses of the Covid vaccine, the Government has said, but hospitalisations have remained consistently over 900-a-day in recent days.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has said that if the UK's chief medical officers approve it, the Government is prepared to begin giving jabs to 12 to 15-year-olds.

Amid fears winter flu cases could compound the pressure on the NHS, he said vaccine boosters may be handed out at the same time as flu jabs.

In Scotland, over 7,000 new infections were reported in the Monday testing period - with 1,170 in the NHS Lothian health board alone.

A government spokesperson told the Daily Mirror : “It is not true that the Government is planning a lockdown or firebreak around the October half term.

"As set out in July, the Government retains contingency plans as part of responsible planning for a range of scenarios, but such measures would only be re-introduced as a last resort to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS.”


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