World news – Offices could shut ‘in two weeks’ if ‘rule of six’ doesn’t stop second surge


Offices could shut ‘within two weeks’ if the ‘rule of six’ does not push surging infection rates down, senior Government sources have reportedly warned.

The UK could be hit with tougher lockdown measures in just a fortnight if Covid-19 is not quickly brought under control, ministers have been told, according to The Sun.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched a campaign to get people back in the office just three weeks ago in an attempt to kickstart the economy.

Almost 2,000,000 people are already set to go back into lockdown in the North East following a dramatic rise of infections in the area.

Other reports claim the whole country could soon be put under a 10pm curfew, as the Government desperately tries to fight off a second wave.

Boris Johnson has previously said he does not want a second national lockdown, although England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty is said to be pushing for it.

The UK suffered the highest daily increase in cases since early May on Wednesday with 4,000 confirmed infections – but it comes amid fears that infection numbers may be as high as 38,000 per day.

The country has seen a widespread testing shortage, with pictures recently showing long queues outside testing centres in the hotspots of Manchester, Birmingham and Bury.

Matt Hancock admitted on Tuesday that tests would have to go to priority groups first, as thousands across the UK struggle to get their hands on one.

Coming under fire in the Commons, he admitted there had been ‘operational challenges’ but insisted they would be solved ‘in a matter of weeks’.

Retailers have warned that sending workers home again could ‘cripple’ pubs, cafes and restaurants that rely on their trade.

Adam Marshall, the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: ‘A truly comprehensive test and trace programme is essential if the UK is to manage the virus without further lockdowns, which will cripple businesses.

‘Continuing delays and a shortage of tests saps business, staff and consumer confidence at a fragile moment for the economy.’

Meanwhile, the prime minister has warned ‘tough love’ is needed to stop a second surge and ‘protect’ Christmas.

Boris Johnson told the Sun: ‘All this is to say that: Christmas we want to protect, and we want everyone to have a fantastic Christmas.

‘But the only way to make sure the country is able to enjoy Christmas is to be tough now. So if we can grip it now, stop the surge, arrest the spike, stop the second hump of the dromedary, flatten the second hump.

‘Dromedary or camel? I can’t remember if it is a dromedary or a camel that has two humps? Umm. Please check. Anyway a double hump. So that is what we need to do!’


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