Local Covid rules could return this winter, says minister

By Neil Shaw

Local Covid rules instead of a national lockdown could return this winter if Covid rates soar, a Government minister has said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tomorrow set out the plans for dealing with Covid in the UK this winter at a major briefing.

And today Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said local rules, instead of national rules, could be part of the plan.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain she said national lockdowns 'wouldn't be needed'.

But she added: "What was important as we came out of step four we also said that we wanted to make sure that local public health directors were able to apply regulations as they saw appropriate, rather than the national approach that we had adopted, recognising that had been a really good way to try and tackle the reduction in transmission and the admissions to hospital."

Host Susanna Reid pointed out that while the minister was ruling out national lockdowns, local lockdowns 'could still be an option'.

Ms Coffey replied that local lockdowns could require national Government approval, but she said local public health directors could bring in local rules such as masks on public transport.

She said: "There may be some local elements which are needed in that particular area but those decisions will be taken carefully."

Local lockdowns saw some regions having to close shops, pubs and gyms while other parts of the UK operated almost 'as normal'.

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