UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock says another national lockdown isn’t something “that we ever take off the table,” but he did not clarified whether or not it would be imposed next month.

The coronavirus is accelerating across the country, with hospital admissions doubling every eight days, Hancock said on Friday. The previous day, Britain recorded 21 deaths from the disease, taking the total according to the government’s accounting method to 41,705.

Coronavirus cases started to rise again in the UK in September, with between 3,000 and 4,000 positive tests recorded daily in the last week. That is still behind France which has more than 10,000 cases a day.

Asked about the possibility of a second national lockdown, Hancock told Sky News: “The last line of defense is full national action and I don’t want to see that.” The Health Secretary added that the government will do “whatever is necessary to keep people safe in a very difficult pandemic.”

He admitted, however that another lockdown across the country “isn’t something that we ever take off the table, but it isn’t something that we want to see either.” The country once again needs “to come together and recognize there is a serious challenge,” Hancock said.

Earlier media reports said that scientists advising the government have proposed a two-week national lockdown in October to try to tackle the rising number of coronavirus cases.

A surge of Covid-19 cases in London may put the capital on track for curbs on socializing and nights out in around a fortnight, the Evening Standard newspaper reported. It cited a plan outlining more severe restrictions on the public, including “reintroducing epidemic controls”, “mandatory masks”, “restricting religious gatherings and social contacts.” Official figures due for release later on Friday will show a sharp rise in cases in the capital, the newspaper said.

The government has also struggled to ensure sufficient testing in recent weeks, but Hancock said Dido Harding, who is in charge of the system, had done an “an extraordinary job.” The testing system was not a mess, the minister added.

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