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Month-long England lockdown could be extended: Minister - London News

London, Nov 2 (IANS) The UK's Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has said that the month-long lockdown, which will be imposed in England on Thursday, could be extended if the rate of Covid-19 cases do not fall sufficiently.

Updated Nov 02, 2020 04:03 AM

Month-long England lockdown could be extended: Minister - London News

Gove's remarks on Sunday came a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new restrictions, which are set to last until December 2, reports Xinhua news agencu.

"We do need to get the R rate below 1," Gove told the BBC, referring to the reproduction rate, or R number, which is one of many indicators scientists use to determine how fast the virus is spreading in the country.

Across the UK, the R number is now between 1.1 and 1.3.

An R number of between 1.1 and 1.3 means on average every 10 people with the virus will infect between 11 and 13 others.

If the R number is above one, it means the number of cases will increase exponentially.

It is his "fervent hope" that England's new lockdown will end on December 2, but that British ministers will be "guided by the facts", Gove said.

He said the steps were necessary to avoid the "medical and moral disaster" of the National Health Service (NHS) being overwhelmed.

Under the new restrictions, the second of its kind since the start of coronavirus in the UK, pubs, restaurants, gyms, non-essential shops and places of worship will close, but schools, colleges and universities can stay open.

The toughest social curbs were announced amid warnings that hospitalisations and deaths could exceed those seen during the first wave of the virus in the next six weeks.

Johnson is expected to deliver a statement in the House of Commons, or the lower house of parliament, on Monday before a vote on the latest restrictions on Wednesday.

The major opposition, Labour, has said it will back the lockdown, according to media reports.

As of Monday, the UK's overall Covid-19 caseload stood at 1,038,054, while the death toll has surged to 46,807.

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