Sir Keir Starmer calls for circuit breaker in England to stop spread of coronavirus

Sir Keir Starmer has called for a circuit breaker in England to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 5:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 5:31 pm
Labour leader Keir Starmer called for a circuit breaker in England immediately
Labour leader Keir Starmer called for a circuit breaker in England immediately

Making his first live televised press conference, Sir Keir urged Boris Johnson to act and warned the UK was at a “decisive moment”.

In a sombre press conference, the Labour leader backed SAGE’s calls for a two-week shut down as the infection rate continues to rise.He said: “The figures are stark, and they are all heading in the wrong direction.

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"There are more people heading into hospital now than the 23rd of March, where we went into lockdown”.“The government has not got a credible plan, it has lost control of the virus.

“There’s no longer time to give the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt.

"The Government’s plan simply isn’t working. Another course is needed.

“That’s why I am calling for a two-to-three week circuit break in England in line with SAGE’s recommendation.”

Last night Mr Johnson unveiled his “three tier” lockdown system for England ahead of more restrictions in Scotland.

It sees areas of England put into "medium", "high" and "very high" alert levels, with bans on household contact, travel and visiting pubs in the worst areas.

However, bombshell documents quietly published on the Government website shortly after the PM’s press conference show Sage asked the Government to go much further than the new measures.

In a meeting on September 21, the group called for a two-week circuit-breaker lockdown across the whole of England.

Now backed by Sir Keir, he explained this would not mean closing schools, but would see non-essential offices forced shut, as well as the UK parliament move to remote working.He continued: “A circuit break would also provide an opportunity to reset and to rectify some of the mistakes the Government has made.

“In particular to get a grip on testing and hand over track and trace to local authorities.

“Introducing these kind of restrictions is not something anyone wants to do.

“But it is now necessary if we are to: protect the NHS, fix testing, and get control of the virus.”

The idea of a circuit breaker lockdown is to interrupt the transmission of the virus, and buy the country time.

It would likely see non-essential shops and hospitality businesses closed down temporarily, as well as travel restrictions being reimposed.

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Sir Keir also addressed the PM directly, urging him to “break the cycle” and follow the science.He explained: “You know that the restrictions you’re introducing won’t be enough.

"You know that a circuit-break is needed now to get this virus under control.

" You can’t keep delaying this and come back to the House of Commons every few weeks with another plan that won’t work.

“If we don’t, we could sleep-walk into a long and bleak winter. That choice is now for the Prime Minister to make. I urge him to do so."

The SAGE papers also showed the scientists suggested banning all contact inside homes with members of other households and requiring all university and college teaching to take place online.

They also called for the closing of all bars, restaurants, cafes, indoor gyms and hairdressers for safety reasons.

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