With coronavirus cases continuing to rise in most parts of the country, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has not ruled out lockdown rules being tightened. England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has warned the NHS faces the ‘most dangerous situation’ in living memory with record deaths and hospital admissions as a result of the virus . In a bid to curb rising infection rates and ensure the NHS does not get overwhelmed, it is believed that tougher measures could be introduced. Pressed on possible restrictions, Mr Hancock told the BBC: “I don’t want to speculate because the most important message is not whether the government will tighten the rules further.” Most importantly, people stay at home and follow the rules. That we have. “And that, in terms of the magnitude of the impact on the cases, is the most important thing that we can do collectively as a society.” Union leader Sir Keir Starmer believes the lockdown rules ‘may not be tough enough’, while Professor Peter Horby, chair of the Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats, said existing measures may need to be further strengthened. He told the BBC: “Now we’re in a situation where everything that was risky in the past is now riskier, so we’re going to have to be very, very strict on the measurements.” Whether the current restrictions are sufficient, I think it remains to be seen. It will take a week or two before that becomes clear. “They may be sufficient but we have to be very vigilant and if there is any sign that they are not, we will have to be even stricter, I’m afraid.” A toughening of measures could mean curfews, closed nurseries, banned support bubbles, face masks made mandatory in all busy outdoor spaces and exercises limited to one hour. We are examining what it would mean if these measures were put in place. Curfews Boris Johnson and No10 failed to rule out a full-fledged French-style curfew, interviewed by the BBC’s Andrew Marr last week. France has put in place a return order at 6 p.m. for people returning home to the most affected regions. Indeed, the UK has never imposed a full nighttime curfew on its citizens during the coronavirus pandemic. The farthest we went was a 10pm curfew on pub hours, but people weren’t forced to go home after that. It is unlikely that we will see a curfew in Wales anytime soon, however, as Wales Premier Mark Drakeford said today that Wales is “not yet in a position” where measures such as curfews should be imposed. “It is important for me to say that the numbers in Wales have improved and that we are not in the position we were in before Christmas, where Wales had the toughest numbers anywhere in the UK” Mr Drakeford told BBC Breakfast. “We are below the numbers in Northern Ireland, below the numbers in England. “So we are not yet in a position where we would need to take measures such as curfews, but maintaining the current lockdown regime is necessary in o.
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