BRITS living in places feared hit by a mutant coronavirus strain have been ordered to stay indoors at all times.
In order to stop the spread of the feared South African variant, Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned residents of numerous UK postcodes they shouldn’t even be going to the shop to get food.
‘If you have food in the house, please use that,” Hancock told BBC Breakfast viewers that the government advice in affected postcodes would be much stricter than elsewhere in the country.
“If you are in one of those postcodes, it is absolutely imperative that you minimise all social contact outside of your house,” he added.
The affected postcodes are: W7 Hanwell, N17 Tottenham, CR4 Mitcham in London; WS2: Walsall in the West Midlands; EN10 Broxbourne in the East of England; ME15 Maidstone, GU21 Woking in the South East; PR9 Southport and Liverpool in the North West and Bristol in the South West.
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LABOUR PRESSES FOR THE CLOSURE OF BORDERS
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Government scientists recommended “a complete pre-emptive closure of borders”.
During PMQs, he told the Commons: “Today we’re likely to hit 10 million vaccinations, which is remarkable. The biggest risk to the vaccine programme at the moment is the arrival of new variants such as the South African variant.
“On that issue, the Government’s own scientists Sage said two weeks ago, and I quote, ‘only a complete pre-emptive closure of borders or the mandatory quarantine of all visitors upon arrival can get close to fully preventing new cases or new variants’. So, pretty clear.
“So why did the Prime Minister choose not to do the one thing that Sage said could prevent new variants coming to the UK?”
INTEREST RATES TO BE DECIDED AMID POSSIBLE ‘DOUBLE-DIP’ RECESSION
The Bank of England will decide whether to take further economy-boosting action tomorrow as the latest lockdown risks Britain going into a double-dip recession.
Most economists believe the Bank will keep interest rates on hold at 0.1%, but could look to expand its £895 billion quantitative easing (QE) bond-buying programme to help the economy weather a second wave of the pandemic.
The Bank of England will also report back with an update into the feasibility of negative interest rates in the UK. This comes alongside increasing speculation over whether it could resort to such a move.
The third lockdown is set to see gross domestic product (GDP) – a measure of the size the economy – tumble in the first quarter of 2021.
The UK is currently on the verge of its first double-dip recession since the 1970s, which seems to be connected to the impact of November’s lockdown.
OVER 20,000 PEOPLE ARE ESTIMATED TO BE IGNORING ISOLATION ADVICE
More than 20,000 people per day are not isolating when they should be, it has emerged in evidence given to the Science and Technology Committee by Baroness Harding.
Taking questions from Jeremy Hunt, she said: “Could I add a slight complexity to your calculation which actually might well make your number go up a bit, which is that’s the proportion that we know about.
“My biggest concern about people not isolating is not actually the 20% of people, let’s say, who are not following that instruction.”
She said her biggest concern is the people who feel ill but do not come forward for testing.
Mr Hunt said: “The people we know about are the people we can do something about and there are thousands of those – 20,000 plus or minus every day who are not self-isolating. I’m just wondering why you think that is.”
SUMMER HOLIDAYS ARE STILL ON THE CARDS
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he is “optimistic” about the prospect of people being able to enjoy a holiday in the summer.
“I’m optimistic that we will have a great British summer,” he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
“The challenge we all still have is we have to keep control of the virus, so we have got to monitor progress.
“But the vaccine rollout is going well, the vaccines clearly work and so this is really, really good progress.”
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