Second lockdown ‘could be extended’ warns government as Christmas under threat

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Michael Gove has said the government could extend England's second lockdown if data shows the infection rate has not fallen enough.

Hours after Boris Johnson announced a second national lockdown, Cabinet Office Minister, Michael Gove, has said the government could extend restrictions if need be.

Addressing the nation from Downing Street on Halloween, the Prime Minister said unlike the first lockdown, the second would be in place for a fixed amount of time.

He said the lockdown, which will order people to stay home, will be in place from Thursday November 5 and end on December 2, to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Gove said the government will "review" the lockdown on December 2 but added that the next steps will be "driven" by data.

Mr Gove said on the basis of what ministers have been told by SAGE and senior NHS officials, the lockdown should drive England’s R rate below 1, but could not rule out the possibility of an extension.

He told Sophy Ridge: "We are going to review it on December 2 but we are driven by the data.

"On the basis of what we have been told it should drive the R rate below 1.

"It’s our hope that we have significantly reduced the reinfection (R) rate."

The surprise lockdown came after the Prime Minister held crunch talks with Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Dominic Raab on Friday October 30.

It is understood the group were shown harrowing NHS data by Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of the United Kingdom, Sir Patrick Vallance.

According to The Times, figures were worse than initially feared, leading the Prime Minister to take drastic action and implement a lockdown.

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He was reportedly due to make the announcement on Monday October 2, but was forced to disrupt Halloween celebrations with the sombre mood due to a leak within government.

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  • Lockdown
  • Coronavirus

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