‘I Want to Avoid Another National Lockdown,’ Johnson Says

We have not yet reached an agreement with Greater Manchester. I completely understand the reluctance of the mayor and his colleagues to take Manchester into the Very High Alert level. It’s far from a pain-free course of action, and it will mean a difficult time for the people of that great part of the country. On present trends, in just over two weeks, there will be more Covid patients in intensive care than at the peak of the first wave. So I urge the mayor to reconsider and engage constructively. I cannot stress enough, time is of the essence, each day that passes before action is taken means more people will go to hospital. More people will end up in intensive care, and tragically, more people will die. Of course, if agreement cannot be reached, I will need to intervene in order to protect Manchester’s hospitals and save the lives of Manchester’s residents. But our efforts will be so much more effective if we work together. Some have argued that we should introduce a national lockdown instead of targeted local action. I disagree. Closing businesses in Cornwall, where transmission is low, will not cut transmission in Manchester. So while I can’t rule anything out, if at all possible, I want to avoid another national lockdown with the damaging health, economic, and social effects it would have.

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