The British foreign secretary has played down the likelihood of a national lockdown in England, acknowledging that such measures would be perceived as “desperately unfair,” with Covid surging only in certain parts of the country.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News on Friday morning that calls for a nationwide ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown were flawed, and defended the government’s current strategy of a tiered local lockdown system.
Raab argued that the government wanted to avoid more drastic measures, but, to do so, needed “full compliance” and “full cooperation” with the current restrictions, which vary from region to region.
The cabinet minister said imposing severe measures on the country as a whole would be disproportionate, because some areas remained largely unaffected by coronavirus.
“In areas where the virus is not picking up, people would feel … it was desperately unfair”
The Foreign Secretary once again rebuffed the Labour Party’s call for a national lockdown.
Raab suggested the idea of a short, sharp circuit-breaker lockdown was an “enigma” and there was no guarantee it would be effective either epidemiologically or economically.
He added that the UK was in a position to learn from other European nations, such as France and Germany, which have been forced to adopt stricter national measures following the failure of localized action to reduce Covid infection rates. The fundamental lesson was to “lean in” and focus on targeted local measures, he said.
The government has plunged many areas of England, including Manchester and Liverpool, into the most stringent of local lockdowns as it seeks to slow to the spread of Covid-19.
The devolved administrations of both Wales and Northern Ireland have already introduced time-limited national lockdowns.
On Thursday, the UK registered 23,065 new Covid infections and 280 new deaths – daily figures that are among the highest in Europe.
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