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‘No surprise’ national lockdown is mooted amid Covid testing crisis

TIGHTER restrictions could be imposed across England as a result of the test, trace and isolate system suffering a continued breakdown.

The government is considering a few weeks of stricter rules as a “circuit-break” to slow the surge of coronavirus cases, it was reported today.

The restrictions, to include making hospitality venues close early, could be announced in the next week, according to the BBC.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said that it is “not surprising national restrictions are back on the table” after Labour had warned months ago that the testing system was collapsing.

There were no tests available in any of England’s top 10 coronavirus hotspots, it was reported earlier this week. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that the government is “prepared to do what it takes” against Covid-19 after the daily number of new cases reached 3,395 and deaths 21 on Thursday.

The number of people admitted to hospital with coronavirus was doubling about every eight days, according to Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori statistical analysis.

This means there could be 128,000 new cases per day by the end of October if restrictions — such as the nationwide “rule of six” currently banning socialising in groups of more than six people — are not effective.

Yesterday it was announced that tighter rules will be imposed on the North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire from Tuesday. They will ban people from socialising outside their own households or support bubble, indoors or outside and will make restaurants, pubs and entertainment venues close at 10pm

Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon warned that the North East — which had the same restrictions imposed from yesterday — is “heading towards a catastrophe” if the testing crisis is not fixed.

He claimed that a mobile testing unit provided by a private company is “like a Del Trotter Enterprises van” from comedy show Only Fools and Horses, as it arrived at a car park in Gateshead 24 hours late on Sunday.

Mr Gannon said that he wants control of testing to be handed from “multiple private sector companies to local public health.”

The government said that new labs were being opened to provide 200,000 tests a day, and that rapid tests giving instant results were being trialled.

Care homes in areas subjected to lockdowns may be advised to restrict visits temporarily to one person per resident in all but end-of-life situations, the government has announced.

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