Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng: Another Covid lockdown is 'not going to happen'

20 October 2021, 08:05 | Updated: 20 October 2021, 13:15

By Megan Hinton

Cabinet minister Kwasi Kwarteng has "categorically" ruled out bringing back lockdown restrictions.

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As the Government faces calls to bring back some Covid restrictions - the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has told LBC's Nick Ferrari he can "categorically rule out" another lockdown this winter.

When asked by Nick this morning whether the UK is looking at more lockdown measures, Kwarteng replied: “No I mean I categorically rule out, I don’t know where this language has come from.

"We’ve worked really hard to get to the point that we could actually open up the economy. We’ve got a fast growing economy, people getting back to work, getting back to normal life."

Adding: "I think any talk of lockdowns is just not at all helpful and it’s not going to happen."

Kwasi Kwarteng has "categorically" ruled out bringing back lockdown restrictions
Kwasi Kwarteng has "categorically" ruled out bringing back lockdown restrictions. Picture: Alamy/LBC

It comes after the Chief executive of the NHS Confederation, Matthew Taylor, urged the Government to implement the back-up strategy amid rising Covid cases in the UK.

It would see the return of measures such as mandatory face coverings in public places and vaccine passports for nightclub entry.

Mr Taylor said the NHS was preparing for what could be "the most challenging winter on record" and urged the public to "show extra support for the NHS", "behaving in ways that will keep themselves and others safe".

He also warned that if the Government "fails to get a grip" on the increase in cases, the nation's recovery from the pandemic could be "put at risk".

Kwasi Kwarteng has also admitted that the vaccine rollout to 12 to 15-year-olds also needs to pick up speed.

"It is working but we just need a faster rollout. I mean, it's easy to say that things aren't working when they've just started or we need to push them more dynamically, but it is working."

Adding the slow uptake of coronavirus booster jabs is "something that we really need to address".

Sajid Javid told MPs on Tuesday that the vaccine programme was “ramping up” but that the NHS was facing a "particularly tough winter."

Whilst professor Neil Ferguson, a leading member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), also said he thought "Plan B" could be implemented in England throughout winter.

However, it is unlikely "we'll ever get close" to the lockdown the country experienced in January.

Downing Street said it was keeping a "very close eye" on rising case rates, but added the Prime Minister has "absolutely no plan to introduce Plan B".

This story is being updated