Britons may have thought they were free of restrictive lockdown measures, however, the Government are said to be considering another brief lockdown stint. Dubbed a “firebreak” this lockdown could take place in October and be implemented to tackle rising infection rates and hospitalisations as the UK heads towards flu season.
A senior Government scientist told iNews the Government has drawn up plans for the lockdown, which would take place next month.
The news has been met by anger and frustration by Brits, with the hashtags #Octoberlockdown and #NoMoreLockdowns trending on Twitter.
One person vented their anger and said: “#octoberlockdown No. just no. Not again, no more. No no no no no.”
While another said: “An #OctoberLockdown was inevitable. Look at the freedom we had over summer. That is not sustainable over the winter.”
He said: “We are going to be at a peak, albeit an extended peak, quite soon, so it’s not really the same situation as last year, when failure to reduce prevalence would have resulted in collapse of NHS and people dying in car parks.
“Hospitals might be overflowing before deaths reach the same level. Acting early will prevent this level.”
So if hospitalisations don’t decrease, another lockdown over the October half-term could take place.
When Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced lockdown for the second time on October 31 there were 16,479 covid infections and 1,461 hospitalisations.
Now there are a staggering 42,192 infections and 988 hospital admissions.
October half-term is slated for Monday, October 25 to Friday, October 29, and this could be extended to two weeks to enable hospitalisations and deaths to slow.
The Government could also reintroduce mask-wearing and social distancing, and potentially put limits on gatherings indoors and in public places.
Travel restrictions could also be implemented once more, which for anyone planning an autumn getaway could ruin plans.
The UK does have the upper hand this time around, with vaccinations shown to be preventing serious illness from coronavirus.
Across the UK, 48,270,113 people have received their first vaccine, while 43,455,083 have been jabbed twice.
Government data shows across the four UK countries, 90.5 percent to 92.4 percent had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 76.8 percent to 82.5 percent were fully vaccinated.
Another pressure to bear in mind is the upcoming flu season, with the NHS urging those eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
In a statement, a Government spokesman said it was not “planning a lockdown or firebreak around the October half term”.
However, the spokesman added it: “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.”
And vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said he has seen no plans for an October “firebreak” lockdown if cases rise this autumn.
Asked on BBC Breakfast whether the Government is looking at a possible lockdown in October, Mr Zahawi said: “No, I haven’t seen any … I know where this question comes from.
“The i newspaper was reporting that they think there could be a possible lockdown.
“Look, vaccines have given us the ability to reduce infections, to save 100,000 lives.
“It is through the booster programme that I hope … we can transition the virus from pandemic to endemic status and deal with it year in, year out – it is going to be with us for many years – but not have to close down our economy or take the severe measures we had to sadly take in December of last year.”