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British Prime Minister resists lockdown, but does not rule out anything | Voice of America




British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday resisted a call from his political opposition for a temporary nationwide circuit breaker lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19, but said he is not ruling anything out.

Opposition Labor Party leader Keir Starmer on Tuesday called for a three-week lockdown, based on advice from the UK Science Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). The organization said failure to do so would lead to catastrophic consequences.

Starmer said it was clear Johnsons regional approach to restrictions was not working.

Johnson told MPs he is sticking to his local and regional approach announced on Monday, which uses a three-tier system that assesses the level of COVID-19 cases in specific areas. Cities and towns with medium, high or very high alert rates must implement restrictive measures accordingly.

Liverpool has become the first neighborhood in the highest category, forcing bars, gyms and other businesses to close, perhaps for months.

In a heated exchange with Starmer, Johnson stressed that the Leader of the Opposition supported the government’s approach as recently as Monday. Starmer responded that he has supported the government in all of its measures so far, but believes that locking the circuit breaker is in the national interest.

UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunak told Parliament he believes a second national lockdown will bring heavy economic and social costs that could permanently damage the UK economy.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland, which is outside the levels system, announced the toughest COVID-19 measures since the pre-summer peak, restaurant closings and schools suspension. Northern Ireland has the highest infection rates in Britain.

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