These are the measures the UK government is considering to avoid a second lockdown

Monday, 3rd August 2020, 1:25 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd August 2020, 1:26 pm

The second lockdown being considered would look very different from the first, but would have a similar impact on vast swathes of the population.

As reported by The Times, a number of proposals are under consideration as Boris Johnson seeks to avoid a repeat of the national lockdown, a move he recently described as the "nuclear" option.

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What are the new proposals?

Under the new proposals, millions of people aged between 50 and 70 could be given ‘personalised risk ratings’, taking into consideration factors such as age and health conditions.

Those deemed vulnerable could be asked to shield themselves in the event of an outbreak.

Other proposals include localised lockdowns for London, which would see travel restricted beyond the M25 in the event of an escalation in the number of new cases.

Less drastic plans include a ban on guests staying in households that are not their own.

Measures like this have already been reintroduced in places like Leicester and parts of north-west England, where local lockdowns have been imposed.

Will there be a second lockdown?

Boris Johnson has warned that the UK must “be vigilant” amid the threat of a second wave of coronavirus, and is reportedly “extremely concerned” that there could be a spike in infections in the UK within two weeks.

His concerns come following recent surges on the continent, and in particular Spain. 

An outbreak of new infections in Spain prompted the UK government to advise against all but essential travel to the country, and reimpose a 14-day quarantine restriction on visitors' return.

According to the Daily Mail, a Downing Street source said: "The PM is extremely concerned by what he's seeing abroad and fears we could be seeing the same thing here in a fortnight. People have got to realise we are still in the middle of a pandemic.

"He wants to go further on opening things up and getting people back to work, but he knows it'll be his head on the block if things go wrong."

Are we at the 'limit' of reopening society?

While there are currently no plans to invoke a second national lockdown in the UK, a number of local lockdowns have been enforced to help contain outbreaks in areas with a large number of cases.

Recently, the government put plans to reopen bowling alleys, casinos and skating rinks as well as the return of indoor performances, as new cases continued to rise.

Professor Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer, warned the nation had "probably reached near the limit or the limits" of what can be done to reopen society.

That could mean that for the return of schools, a trade-off may need to be implemented, such as closing pubs once again.