Keir Starmer calls for 2-3 week 'circuit break' national lockdown
Starmer called for the 'circuit break' to take place over half term
Labour party leader Keir Starmer has called for a two to three week 'circuit break' national lockdown to try and curtail the rapid rise in coronavirus cases seen across the United Kingdom in recent weeks.
Speaking at a Labour news conference called in response to prime minister Boris Johnson's three-tier lockdown system which is due to be enacted across England, Starmer made what was his most forceful speech of the coronavirus pandemic.
"I am calling for a two-to-three week circuit break in England in line with SAGE’s recommendation," said Starmer.
“A temporary set of clear and effective restrictions designed to get the R rate down and reverse the trend of infections and hospital admissions.
“This would not mean closing schools. But if this happens imminently….it can be timed to run across half-term to minimise disruption. But a circuit break would require significant sacrifices across the country.
"The government has not got a credible plan to slow infections"
In a televised news conference, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accuses the government of losing control of the virus and says "it is no longer following scientific advice"https://t.co/JkYYMPg0sB pic.twitter.com/yBdZQDXvCf
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) October 13, 2020
Starmer urged Johnson to implement the 'circuit breaker' lockdown in a bid to alleviate pressure on the NHS and to try and fix the Track and Trace testing system which has been described by SAGE as having a "marginal impact" on reducing the spread of the virus.
He said: “A circuit break would also provide an opportunity to reset and to rectify some of the mistakes the Government has made. In particular to get a grip on testing and hand over track and trace to local authorities. A circuit break will have to be accompanied by extensive support for jobs, businesses and our local economies."
His conference comes on a day when a further 143 people were confirmed to have died from coronavirus, while more than 17,000 have tested positive.
We are at a decisive moment in the fight against the coronavirus.
That’s why I'm calling for a circuit break in England - to protect the NHS, fix testing and get control of the virus.
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) October 13, 2020
Leading health experts from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies also recommended three weeks ago that Johnson implement the short-term national lockdown which Starmer is now calling for.
The new three-tier lockdown, which Johnson announced on Monday night, sees areas designated by an alert system currently ranging between medium, high and very high.
In tier 3 - or very high alert - areas such as the Liverpool metropolitan area pubs will be forced to close unless they also serve 'substantial' meals, while indoor gyms, casinos and leisure centres will also close.