Lockdowns could return if Covid cases 'flare up', cabinet minister hints

A TOP minister has admitted there could be more lockdowns in the future if Covid cases "flare up".

In bleak news ahead of 'freedom day' on July 19, Kwasi Kwarteng said tough restrictions may come back into force in the future.

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News that Brits may yet face national shutdowns comes as the country's new Health Secretary says there'll be 100,000 cases daily within six weeks.

And England's Chief Medical Officer has spoken of his fears about an epidemic of long Covid cases – amid reports there could be 5,000 new cases of the prolonged illness every day.

It comes as:

  • Double-jabbed Brits can fly from amber list countries without quarantining from July 19
  • Self-isolation after a Covid contact will also end for those who have had both vaccinations – but not until August
  • The UK is 'running short on Pfizer' as some second jabs are delayed, it's reported
  • A Wuhan virologist claims Covid originated in America and says 'white supremacists' are responsible for lab leak claims
  • School bubbles will be scrapped when kids return to class in September

This morning, the Business Minister said: "We're looking at the data all the time.

"So if there would be a flare up or a crisis, then we're looking at data and looking at measures that we'd have to bring in.

"We're always looking after the most vulnerable, and always looking out to people who are exposed."

However, he said there is little chance that Boris Johnson won't proceed will step four this month.

Masks and social distancing are set to go on the 19th, while clubs will be allowed to reopen for the first time since March 2020.

Mr Kwarteng told Times Radio: "We've always said we're data driven.

"I'm confident we'll be able to open up on July 19, I'm very hopeful we're winning the battle against Covid, but we've always got to look at data in real time.

"There's no appetite at all to have lockdowns forever.

"If you wanted to have no risk at all, you would have a lockdown essentially in perpetuity.

"We don't want that. We want to get back to normal life."

But in an interview on Sky, Mr Kwarteng said it's "not beyond the imagination" that 5,000 people will suffer long Covid daily as cases rocket to 100,000.

Despite that, he said it's time for the national shutdown to lift as Brits learn how to live with coronavirus.

"We can't simply lockdown society forever – we have to reopen," he said.

"If we don't reopen fully on July 19, the implications of that would be simply just to delay all of this until perhaps September or the winter, when things would become more difficult.

"So, it's a balancing act. We have to decide what to do and I think this is the best course of action."

And Prof Whitty yesterday warned: "Since there’s a lot of Covid at the moment and the rates are going up, I regret to say I think we will get a significant amount more long Covid, particularly in the younger ages where the vaccination rates are currently much lower."

The PM previously said his map to freedom was "irreversible" – although he didn't say that in his address to the nation on Monday.

Instead, he told the country we must brace for more tragedy.

"We must reconcile ourselves, sadly, to more deaths from Covid," he said.

Part of his plan to allow a full reopening this month was the option that measures could be brought back if needed.

Rather than trumpeting victory over the virus, Boris cautiously told the nation: "We must be honest with ourselves.

"If we can’t reopen our society in the next few weeks, when we will be helped by the arrival of summer and by the school holidays, then we must ask ourselves – 'When will we be able to return to normal?'"

UK Covid daily cases are the highest they've been since January, with 28,773 more infections reported yesterday.

And 37 more Covid deaths were recorded over the same timeframe.

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