How could the lockdown get tougher?
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
National lockdown restrictions could be toughened in an effort to reduce the spike of coronavirus cases, it has been reported.
Boris Johnson reportedly spoke with senior ministers on Sunday to evaluate "whether the current lockdown rules were working" in reducing the numbers of Covid-19 cases amid fears the restrictions are not strict enough, the Daily Telegraph said.
England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty warned this morning that the next few weeks will be the "worst of the pandemic" as the threat of the NHS being completely overwhelmed remains.
It is believed tougher measures may be introduced in a bid to curb rising infection rates and ensure the NHS does not become overwhelmed.
So what could change?
- Meeting one person from another household outside
The Government is understood to be considering stopping the exemption which allows people to exercise with one other person from outside of their household or support bubble.
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Reports suggest restrictions on exercise could be tightened following concerns that people are using the allowance to socialise.
- Could support bubbles be banned?
Support bubbles have been in place in England since June, and now thousands of people who live alone or are in a single-parent household rely on them for support during the lockdown.
Taking this away would take England back to where it was in March - during the first national lockdown.
- Could nurseries close?
Nurseries have so far been unaffected by the third national lockdown, despite all other education settings closing until mid-February, however many scientists and experts have called for this to change.
The Early Years Alliance, which represents nurseries and childminders, said some providers are closing despite what the Government has said.
- Face masks could become mandatory in busy outside spaces
It has been reported that ministers are preparing to tell supermarket bosses to get tougher on policing social distancing restrictions and mask wearing in-store.
People could also be asked to wear face coverings in shop queues and even at work, reports suggest.
- Could a curfew be implemented?
Other countries, such as France, have introduced 6pm curfews for some of its hardest-hit regions.
The UK has never imposed a full night-time curfew during the pandemic, but with rising cases it remains a possibility., and the Prime Minister has not ruled out this prospect.