Winter lockdown 'ruled out' by business secretary

20 October 2021 by
Winter lockdown 'ruled out' by business secretary

The business secretary has ruled out another national lockdown this winter despite concerns over rising coronavirus cases and deaths.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said conversations about introducing further restrictions were "unhelpful" and that that the vaccine rollout had changed the government's approach. 78.9% of the UK population over the age of 12 has now been fully vaccinated.

When asked on Sky News on whether another lockdown could be introduced, Kwarteng said: "I would rule that out."

He added: "I think we've had a huge job of work getting the vaccine rollout to the point where we can reopen the economy, that was the main thing we were focused on this year, that has worked. And what we want to do is manage the situation as it is, we don't want to go back into lockdown or further restrictions."

It comes after Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, called on the government to introduce its ‘Plan B' measures, which include legally requiring people to wear face coverings and certification for vaccine status in certain settings, to prevent a "winter crisis".

The UK recorded 223 Covid-related deaths on 19 October, the highest number since 9 March, and a further 43,738 cases.

On Monday the UK reported 49,156 cases of Covid-19, the highest number since 17 July when 54,674 cases were recorded.

Kwarteng told Sky News that after reopening the economy in July it became "clear that we would have to live with the virus".

The impact of the pandemic on hospitality, particularly lockdown restrictions, continues to be felt across the sector, with around 9,900 licensed premises believed to have closed across the country since March 2020.

Image: John David Photography / Shutterstock

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