The Prime Minister is set to announce a new raft of restrictions for COVID-19 hotspots this week before taking effect on Monday, reports suggest. On Wednesday Nicola Sturgeon announced a two-week closure of pubs across central Scotland including Glasgow and Edinburgh in a move seen as a “circuit breaker” aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.
Mr Johnson is set to follow her lead, the Sun reports when he orders the shutdown of hospitality venues in parts of the North, including Manchester and Liverpool.
Schools, universities, shops and offices will remain open under the plans.
Ahead of Mr Johnson’s announcement, a new study has shown how short-term lockdown could backfire on authorities by resulting in a higher coronavirus death toll.
Researchers at Edinburgh University studied Report 9 – the report by Professor Neil Ferguson and Imperial College London colleagues which warned of hundreds of thousands of deaths if no restrictions were put in place.
Prof Ferguson’s study led to the Government taking drastic action in March and ordering a full lockdown.
Experts in Edinburgh used the same model to examine different interventions, including social distancing of the over-70s, self-isolation of people who develop symptoms, closure of schools and universities, and social distancing of the entire population.
The team found that while a strict response from authorities was “highly effective” in reducing demand for intensive care unit (ICU) beds, when rules are rolled back millions remain susceptible to infection while a large proportion are still suffering from the disease.
They wrote: “This then leads to a second wave of infections that can result in more deaths, but later.”
The UK has the highest death toll in Europe and the deepest recession of any leading nation.
The country’s dreaded second wave is fast picking up speed as winter approaches, with more than 14,000 new cases reported since Tuesday.
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7.58am update: PM blasted for failing to brief authorities in North about shutdown
Boris Johnson has been urged to “get a grip” on the coronavirus pandemic ahead of his expected announcement of new restrictions for the North.
Labour Mayor of the Sheffield City Region and MP Dan Jarvis hit out at the leaked reports of the Prime Minister’s new rules.
Mr Jarvis said it was “recklessly irresponsible” of the Prime Minister “to brief the papers but not leaders in the North who’ll somehow have to make this work”.
He added: “Get a grip @BorisJohnson.”
7.53am update: Tens of thousands of jobs in Scotland will be lost, warns hospitality boss
UKHospitality executive director for Scotland Willie Macleod has warned that many businesses won’t survive the new restrictions on hospitality and licensed trade in Scotland and said that tens of thousands of jobs will be lost.
He told BBC Breakfast: “The hospitality, the licensed trade fully appreciates the health position and we realise the Government has very difficult decisions to make to balance public health and the economy but the impact on businesses that have worked very hard and successfully to provide safe hygienic environments for customers and staff, the impact is going to be horrific.
“It’s coming at a very difficult time of year. There’s never an easy time of year, but we’re reliant on tourism as well as local customers, we’re just going into the mid term holiday period and customers in Scotland and elsewhere are absolutely uncertain now about whether to continue with their holiday bookings.
“Closing bars and restaurants is going to have a massive impact on businesses that are really just climbing back from a prolonged period of lockdown, they’ve reopened with reduced capacity to cope with social distancing, they were then hit by the 10pm curfew and with reduced demand and reduced consumer confidence business resilience is as low as it can be.
“Many businesses won’t survive and I’m afraid we’re going to see tens of thousands of job losses by the time we do the final count on all of this.”