What is a circuit breaker lockdown?

A POSSIBLE 'circuit breaker' lockdown is among measures being considered by ministers to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Infections have been rising steeply across the UK as the nation heads into winter.

What is a circuit breaker lockdown?

Boris Johnson is considering a “circuit breaker” lockdown, in which pubs and restaurants would be closed, to give the nation “breathing space” in the battle against coronavirus. 

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock refused to rule out a second national lockdown on September 18, amid fears Covid cases are spiralling as high as 38,000 a day.

A "circuit breaker" lockdown would likely include bans on socialising with other households, and telling people not to use public transport unless it was essential.

And it may include a curfew on pubs and restaurants too, forcing them to shut at 10pm – like is the case in other parts of the country under local lockdown at the moment.

However, it is highly unlikely that schools and workplaces would close at this point.

The concept of a “circuit breaker” lockdown was originally devised in Singapore, where Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong implemented the measure in April. 

It saw all but essential workplaces closed and restrictions imposed on restaurants and public spaces. 

Health minister Matt Hancock told Sky News that the national lockdown represents the country’s “last line of defence” against the virus, stressing the government preferred to use “local action”.

When may a circuit breaker lockdown be announced in the UK?

Boris Johnson is reported to considering new national restrictions, possibly as soon as next week.

But he is believed to be waiting to see the impact of the rule of six is – which was introduced on September 14- and whether it is able to bring cases down.

The Times also reports that a lockdown could take place during half-term in a bid to minimise disruption to schools and parents.

This falls in October, with most schools set to have their break between Monday 26 October and Friday 30 October.

A spokesperson for the PM told The Guardian: “We’ve always been clear that our strategy is to keep the virus down as much as possible while protecting education and the economy. 

“We are prepared to take action that is necessary, but we obviously want to avoid any extended lockdown.”

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