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Do you think 3-week ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown is a good idea?

PUBLISHED: 19:06 14 October 2020 | UPDATED: 19:06 14 October 2020

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. Picture: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. Picture: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

HOC/JESSICA TAYLOR

A clash of opinions has ensued after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for a short “circuit breaker” lockdown to limit the spread of Covid-19.

The opposition leader called for stricter measures after documents revealed government scientific advisers had suggested such action to the government three weeks ago.

Sir Keir said that the lockdown would “not mean schools closing” but advised that it should “run across half-term to minimise disruption”.

All bars, pubs and restaurants would be forced to close, with compensation “so that no business loses out because of the sacrifices we all need to make”.

“The government has not got a credible plan to slow infections. It has lost control of the virus and it’s no longer following scientific advice,” he said.

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt. Picture: ARCHANTIpswich MP Tom Hunt. Picture: ARCHANT

However, Conservative leaders in Suffolk hit back at the plans.

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt labelled the suggestion as “ridiculous”.

“I think it is not an appropriate position to adopt,” he said.

“I think the approach needs to be a more regionally targeted approach to tackling the virus.

David Ellesmere, leader of the Ipswich Borough Council. Picture: SU ANDERSONDavid Ellesmere, leader of the Ipswich Borough Council. Picture: SU ANDERSON

“Completely closing down the entire hospitality sector at this point in time would be hugely damaging with very little to gain.

“Some of the scientific figures have said that local measures in parts of the country with the highest level of Covid, such as Manchester and Liverpool, haven’t been successful at tackling the virus.

“What nobody can explain is how closing pubs, restaurants and bars in Ipswich and risking people’s livelihoods will help the situation in these virus hotspots.

“I think Boris Johnson’s three-tier system is an improvement on what we have had.

Jack Abbott, county Labour spokesperson for childrens services, education and skills  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJack Abbott, county Labour spokesperson for childrens services, education and skills Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“So I am strongly opposed to Keir Starmer’s position on this issue.”

However, leader of Ipswich Borough Council David Ellesmere said that a full lockdown was needed.

He said: “The infection rates are increasing across the country, even in Suffolk where we have a relatively low number of cases.

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“The level we are at now are higher than some areas were when they went into the increased local lockdown measures.

“The scientific advice that the government has had is that the measures they have put in place will not stop infections rising. Something more needs to be done.

“Boris Johnson was advised three weeks ago he needed to do this and it hasn’t happened.

“The longer he waits, the worse it will get and the harsher the measures that are going to need to be put in place and the worse the economic damage it will be.

“At the moment we have the worst of all possible worlds where the government is causing damage to business and its not actually reducing infection rate.”

Mr Johnson this week introduced a three-tier alert system, which aims to curtail the spread of Covid-19 in worst hit areas.

Chris Chambers, chairman of Ipswich Conservatives, said that the system protects the public while keeping the economy open in areas where Covid rates are low.

“If you look at a local basis, our numbers are far less than Liverpool - so why have a blanket policy, when most of the country is on the medium risk?

“It’s not great around here, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think the blanket policy is the right approach.”

Meanwhile, Labour councillor Jack Abbott said: “We are seeing the infection rate rise rapidly and Covid hospital admissions are now at a higher point than at the start of lockdown.

“Thousands of jobs have already been lost. Hundreds of children are missing school every day.

“The government has lost control and gone missing when we need decisive action and leadership.

“The thought of a two-week circuit breaker is a sobering one, but there is nothing responsible about the prime minister continuing to force the country down this long and painful road with no end in sight.”


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