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Boris Johnson ‘not advised to seek two-week nationwide lockdown’

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Health Minister Edward Argar has dismissed claims Boris Johnson said the UK must enter a full lockdown for two weeks.

The report was first released on Wednesday evening, after former World Health Organization (WHO) director Anthony Costello, who is also a member of the Independent Sage, tweeted that the chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, had advised the Prime Minister to implement the measure.

It comes after nearly 4,000 cases of COVID-19 were recorded in one day for the first time since the beginning of May.

However, Argar played down the reports, telling Sky News it’s not something I’ve seen within the department.

Boris Johnson has reportedly been asked to place the UK under a new lockdown.  (AP)
Boris Johnson has reportedly been asked to place the UK under a new lockdown. (AP)

He said: The Prime Minister has been very clear about this. He doesn’t want to see another national lockdown. He wants to see people obeying the regulations and making the local lockdowns work.

Costello later returned to his original tweet, claiming that another insider told him Chris Whitty did not support a two-week lockdown.

While more lockdowns are expected to be announced in the north-east of England, Argar said the region is peaking in cases similar to the north-west.

In the Northeast, we are seeing an increase in infections. This is exactly what we saw in the Northwest. We are monitoring this rate. Where we need it, we step in and act, he said.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has reportedly argued for another nationwide lockdown.  (PENNSYLVANIA)
Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has reportedly argued for another nationwide lockdown. (PENNSYLVANIA)

Argar said that in the Northwest, the hike was driven in part by people failing to meet social distancing requirements.

Obviously, a nighttime economy will fuel this with people going out late at night.

Johnson said on Wednesday that a second national coronavirus lockdown would be completely false.

The prime minister, who appeared before the House of Commons Liaison Committee, said the reimposition of lockdown restrictions would be disastrous for the country.

Johnson, asked by Tory MP Julian Knight if the UK can afford another lockdown, replied: I don’t want a second national lockdown, I think that would be completely wrong for this country.

Boris Johnson testifies before the Commons Liaison Committee in the Boothroyd Room of the House of Commons.  (PENNSYLVANIA)
Boris Johnson testifies before the Commons Liaison Committee in the Boothroyd Room of the House of Commons. (PENNSYLVANIA)

We will do everything in our power to prevent it.

Can we afford it? I very much doubt the financial consequences will be anything but dire.

The Prime Ministers’ comments come as reports suggest the government has given itself two weeks for its rule of six coronavirus law which bans most social gatherings of more than six people in England from working.

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty arrives in Downing Street for a coronavirus briefing.  (Getty)
Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty arrives in Downing Street for a coronavirus briefing. (Getty)

Commenting on the controversial rule, Johnson added: We have to make sure we beat the disease in the ways that we have defined.

So when I see people arguing about the rule of six or saying that the government is attacking individual freedoms too much, I understand that. But we must, must overcome this disease.

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