October 15, 2020 2.53 pm This story is over 14 months old

“Mounting argument” for circuit break lockdown, say Lincolnshire health bosses

But the PM has yet to take heed

Health bosses in Lincolnshire say there is a “mounting argument” for another short circuit break lockdown to tackle the second coronavirus wave.

Lincolnshire County Council’s director of public health Professor Derek Ward told BBC Radio Lincolnshire that he supported the idea from a professional perspective but understood “there is always a balance.”

The idea was proposed by the government’s committee of experts last month, but it hasn’t been taken up by the Prime Minister yet. National media reports speculate a two-week half-term full-on lockdown or night-time house curfews.

“There is no doubt in my mind that if we if we had a circuit breaker as was described by SAGE, that would at the moment when [cases are] going up, flatten it off and would probably get a plateau.

“We’d go up again after, but that plateau, would obviously push [the increase] further back in and it would help to keep on top of the infection.

“But there’s a balance between doing that and keeping people in jobs, to keeping the economy going.”

He said the positives would flatten the curve, bring down infection rates and keep capacity in the NHS for people like cancer patients.

However, on the other side of the coin, it might discourage people from using the NHS when they needed. It would also impact on businesses, income and long-term mental health.

Lincolnshire County Council’s Director of Public Health Professor Derek Ward. | Photo: LCC

From 6pm Friday, Northern Ireland will begin its own circuit break including closing schools for two weeks.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson though has so far rejected SAGE’s advice, instead this week launching a new three-tier alert system, where Lincolnshire is on the lowest (medium, tier 1) level, but neighbouring Nottinghamshire is on tier two – high- and have the highest infection rate in the country.

Mr Johnson and several of his ministers believe tackling COVID in localised areas will help protect the economy from further damage.

Health secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons on Thursday morning: “We take the view that we should do everything we can to control this virus where it is rising the fastest and take a more targeted approach.”

In Europe, France is introducing a 9pm to 6am house curfew instead of a full lockdown, while in Italy masks are mandatory outdoors too and there’s a midnight curfew for bars and restaurants.

Germany is also looking at 11pm hospitality curfews in areas with high infection rates.

Lincolnshire’s cases to October 13.

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