British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday defended his decision to impose a second national lockdown, brushing aside criticism that weeks of delay have meant thousands more infections and hundreds of needless deaths.
The comments came as Johnson gave the House of Commons details of the proposed four-week lockdown in England that is set to begin Thursday. The plan was hurriedly announced Saturday after updated projections showed that rapidly rising infection rates risked swamping hospitals in a matter of weeks.
“Faced with these latest figures, there is no alternative but to take further action at a national level,” Johnson told lawmakers, adding it was right to try imposing local measures first. “I believe it was right to try every possible option to get this virus under control at a local level with strong local action and strong local leadership.”
– Changes to self-isolation time
The PM’s official spokesman would not say whether a possible cut in the self-isolation period for those who test positive for Covid-19 was related to plans for a mass rollout of public testing.
It comes after Boris Johnson promised a “big, big push” on isolation compliance for those who test positive or come into contact with a positive case.
The Number 10 official said: “We are reviewing the period of time under which people are asked to self-isolate and that work is ongoing. We will set out further details in due course.”
Asked whether the review might see the stay-at-home period cut to 10 or even seven days, he added: “I don’t have a timescale for you on when we will be in a position to announce the next steps, but we have said we are looking at a reduction in the period of self-isolation.”
– Jenrick wrong about outdoor exercise mixing
It sounds as though Robert Jenrick’s confusing advice on households meeting for outdoor exercise was wrong.
Asked whether the house secretary was right to say two households could meet for a walk under the new regulations, the PM’s spokesman said: “In the context of a support bubble, that would be correct, so a household could meet up with their support bubble which could be a single parent or a grandparent for example, and they could go for a walk in the park.
“Separately, what the regulations will say is that either you can go to exercise or take recreation in the park with your household or alternatively it could be one plus one – one person from one household could go to the park with one person from another.”