Demands to close schools grow as Scotland moves closer to full lockdown



Article By: Ben Turner-LE

Liverpool lockown latest as Boris Johnson will warn coronavirus deaths over the winter could be twice as high as during first wave



Latest Liverpool coronavirus updates as Boris Johnson is giving an update in the Commons today as an expert today said a third lockdown in January could not be ruled out.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she will consider whether to impose another national lockdown in Scotland now the furlough scheme has been extended.

Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London, whose modelling prompted the UK-wide lockdown in March, said it is hoped the new measures in England will reduce the R number to "something like 0.8, maybe 0.9".

He said that driving infection levels down "substantially" could see measures relaxed over Christmas, but acknowledged this "poses some risks".

"If we can drive infection levels down substantially, then we'll be in a better position to relax things over Christmas than if they are still at the current levels," he told Times Radio Breakfast.

"Relaxation will inevitably pose some risks, it will lead to more transmission, but, if that's from a low baseline level, the costs of that and the harms it causes are going to be less than if we were at current levels."

He said "on-off measures" were always anticipated to be an outcome from the pandemic, adding: "Clearly, in some ways it will be better to find the perfect set of measures to keep transmission under control without needing to go in and out of lockdown.

"It is quite possible, unfortunately, that we may have to revisit this again come early January or something.

"I very much hope we don't, but I think everybody we have spoken to says we have to see what the data shows in the next few weeks, and adjust the policy accordingly."

Thousands of lives would have been saved if the Government had imposed a two-week "circuit-break" lockdown when advised to by experts in September, a leading medical figure has said.

Prof Andrew Hayward, professor of infectious diseases epidemiology at University College London, and a member of the Government's New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) advisory committee, said such a move would also have caused less damage to the economy than the four-week lockdown outlined by the Government on Saturday.

Asked what difference it would have made if the Government had taken the advice of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), Prof Hayward, speaking in a personal capacity, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Well, we can't turn back the clock.

"But, I think if we had chosen a two-week circuit-break at that time we would definitely have saved thousands of lives.

"And, we would clearly have inflicted substantially less damage on our economy than the proposed four-week lockdown will do."

Prof Hayward was at the meeting of Sage on September 21 that recommended a circuit-break around half term.

The Prime Minister is set to use a statement to the Commons on Monday afternoon to say there is “no alternative” but to impose four weeks of stringent restrictions across England to control rising cases.

The statement is expected at 3.30pm.

The measures will see pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential retail closed for four weeks, but schools, colleges and nurseries will remain open.

People will also be allowed to exercise and socialise in outdoor public spaces with their household or one other person.

The Prime Minister will seek to face down growing backbench unrest over the new restrictions when he tells the Commons there is no option but to impose them.

He is expected to say: “Models of our scientists suggest that unless we act now, we could see deaths over the winter that are twice as bad or more compared with the first wave.

“Faced with these latest figures, there is no alternative but to take further action at a national level.

“I know some in the House believe we should have reached this decision earlier, but I believe it was right to try every possible option to get this virus under control at a local level, with strong local action and strong local leadership.”

On Merseyside a beauty salon which plans to not comply with the latest lockdown restrictions has divided opinions amongst ECHO readers.

Yesterday ( Sunday) morning Skin Kerr in Bootle posted a message on its social media Instagram page which said they would not be complying with the lockdown.

The message read: "We will not be locking down again. We will remain open. We will fight this and any fines in a common law court."

All personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons are set close from Thursday as part of the lockdown.

Skin Kerr was forcibly closed by Sefton Council for breaching coronavirus rules earlier this year.

The news that the salon plans to defy the second lockdown appears to have divided opinions on Merseyside.



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