Coronavirus: Second national lockdown would be 'disastrous', PM says

September 16, 2020

A second national lockdown would be likely to have "disastrous" financial consequences for the UK, the prime minister has said.

Appearing at a committee of MPs, Boris Johnson said the government was doing "everything in our power" to prevent another nationwide lockdown.

This was why new restrictions - such as the "rule of six" - were necessary to "defeat" the disease, he said.

The PM also admitted there was not enough testing capacity.

Earlier, he blamed a "colossal spike" in demand for ongoing problems in accessing tests and results being delayed.

On Wednesday, coronavirus cases in the UK increased by 3,991, taking the total to 378,219, according to figures from the government.

A further 20 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19. This brings the UK death total by this criteria to 41,684.

Amid the increase in coronavirus cases, Mr Johnson was asked by the Commons Liaison Committee whether the UK could afford another national lockdown.

Mr Johnson said: "I don't want a second national lockdown - I think it would be completely wrong for this country and we are going to do everything in our power to prevent it.

"And can we afford it? I very much doubt that the financial consequences would be anything but disastrous, but we have to make sure that we defeat the disease by the means that we have set out.

"So when I see people arguing against the rule of six or saying that the government is coming in too hard on individual liberties and so on - I totally understand that and I sympathise with that, but we must, must defeat this disease."

From Monday, new rules came into force, restricting indoor and outdoor gatherings in England and Scotland, and indoor groups in Wales.