UK Faces 'Tipping Point' in Battle to Stop Spread of Virus

Joanna Estrada
September 20, 2020

The UK faces a "tipping point" where "more restrictive measures" could be brought in to slow the spread of coronavirus, the health secretary has told Sky News.

It comes as Boris Johnson announced that people who fail to self-isolate will be required will receive fines of up to £10,000 under emergency plans drawn up to fight the surge in coronavirus cases.

He told Sophie Ridge, "If I were Prime Minister, I would apologize for the fact that the tests are so ubiquitous and instead of using summer to prepare for fall, which is what we said should happen, we are only in this position when we need to test to be at its best".

"I don't rule it out, I don't want to see it", he stated.

"We have got the cavalry coming over the next few months - the vaccine, the mass testing and the improvements in treatments - but we have got to all follow the rules between now and then to keep people safe".

In an interview on BBC TV's "Andrew Marr show", Hancock held out of the prospect of a vaccine by the end of the year or "more likely" in early 2021.

As of Tuesday, around 13.5 million people across the United Kingdom will be facing some form of local restrictions as the authorities grapple with the disease.

"I've had discussions this week with the mayor of London and the teams are meeting today to discuss further what might be needed".

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come under huge pressure to call a meeting of Cabinet crisis meeting, often referred to as a COBRA meeting.

Among the measures being considered by ministers is a temporary two-week "circuit break" with tighter restrictions across England in an attempt to break the chain of transmission.

Hancock later told the BBC that a second national lockdown was a possible option.

Another lockdown would deliver a further blow to an economy that shrank more than any other major developed country during the pandemic. Starmer urged the government to reinstate its daily coronavirus press conferences.

Fines will initially start at 1,000 pounds rising to 10,000 pounds for repeat offenders, and for "the most egregious breaches".

The government has announced fines of up to 10,000 pounds (about 12,974 US dollars) for those who fail to self-isolate as requested as part of its efforts to urge Britons to follow the rules.

The number of fines issued for breaking coronavirus restrictions has been relatively low, totaling 18,683 in England and Wales between March 27 and August 17, according to the latest figures from the National Police Chiefs' Council. Only the headline has been changed.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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