Different UK areas could have different lockdown rules

The great lockdown divide: Different areas of Britain could emerge from lockdown at different times depending on where coronavirus flares up

  • Different parts of the UK with different virus cases could be under different rules
  • Example: Newcastle won’t have to tighten measures for an outbreak in Cornwall
  • This comes after a united four-nation response has been abandoned in the UK
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Different areas of the country could emerge from lockdown at different times depending on where the virus flares up.

The Government’s road map suggests that parts of the UK, regions in England and even individual schools could have ‘localised lockdowns’ if they have outbreaks.

It indicates, for example, that Newcastle should not have to tighten measures just because of a fresh outbreak in Cornwall.

The plan also raises the possibility that different parts of the country could enjoy different freedoms sooner than others.

Pictured: Boris Johnson discussing his plan to come out of lockdown in parliament yesterday. The Government’s road map suggests that parts of the UK, regions in England and even individual schools could have ‘localised lockdowns’ if they have outbreaks

A united four-nation response has been abandoned after Scotland and Wales said they would not adopt Boris Johnson’s plan for England as public health is a devolved matter. The road map states: ‘Restrictions may be adjusted by the devolved administrations at a different pace because the level of infection – and therefore the risk – will differ.

‘Similarly in England, the Government may adjust restrictions in some regions before others.

Europeans flocked to shops and bars for the first time in two months yesterday as millions more were lifted out of lockdown.

French workers returned to factories and offices and high streets bustled as shops, hair salons and markets re-opened. Spaniards flocked to restaurants, bars and cafes with outdoor terraces.

In Denmark social distancing was cut from two metres to one as crowds formed at shopping centres. But Belgium’s phased return to normality stalled as public transport workers went on strike over a lack of protective measures. 

‘A greater risk in Cornwall should not lead to disproportionate restrictions in Newcastle if the risk is lower.’ Yesterday chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said: ‘Going forward it is important that, as this comes under control, it will be something that needs to be managed locally and regionally much more.

‘As the numbers come down and as this becomes a controlled situation where you are looking for outbreaks, that will have to be done locally and regionally and responses will need to be done locally and regionally. It may be necessary to make closures of certain businesses or a certain school, depending on what is happening.

‘Outbreaks are going to need to be managed locally. This will become a situation where you start to see differences emerging.’

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman did not deny the road-map meant limits could be eased in some areas before others. He also highlighted that if there was an outbreak in a school, it could be closed but not every local school would have to shut.

The new alert system drawn up by the Government would help to identify pockets of infection around the country, he added.

In Parliament yesterday, Mr Johnson said: ‘The intention is the Covid alert system in time will be sufficiently sensitive and flexible as to detect local flare-ups, so that for instance if Covid is detected in the [waste] water supply of a certain town or in a school, in an area, then steps can be taken.’

Asked about these comments on traces in water supplies being used to pinpoint outbreaks, the spokesman said: ‘Some studies have been carried out overseas and it is something we are looking at as a possible way of seeing if you could track the rate of infections locally.’ 

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