Housing Secretary tells LBC: 'We want to avoid a blanket national lockdown'

29 October 2020, 08:20 | Updated: 29 October 2020, 08:40

The Government wants to avoid another "blanket national lockdown" amid the coronavirus crisis by sticking to its regionalised approach, the Housing Secretary has told LBC.

Robert Jenrick told LBC's Nick Ferrari that despite the rise in Covid cases across the country, a nationwide circuit break would cause "massive damage" to people's lives and livelihoods.

He praised regional leaders in Nottinghamshire for agreeing to enter Tier 3 restrictions from Friday, with added measures in place such as stopping alcohol sales at off-licences from 9pm.

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Boris Johnson has been urged to resist calls for a second lockdown over Christmas, as Germany and France both headed into second lockdowns as the second wave of Covid-19 continues to sweep across Europe.

Mr Jenrick told LBC: "We've always said this was a serious situation and you can see the data that's emerging across the whole country, but particularly in some places where the virus is concentrated.

"We want to avoid a blanket national lockdown.

"We know that has some advantages, but it's also heavily disadvantaged by the massive damage that does to people's livelihoods and to broader health and wellbeing.

"So if we can, we want to avoid that by taking the regionalised approach that we are.

"You'll see overnight that we've reached agreement with Nottingham and Nottinghamshire for another part of the country to go into Tier 3, where there'll be further measures.

"That's actually enhanced to the previous ones, because local leaders agreed to take further steps there, because they saw the seriousness of the situation in their own community, for example having alcohol sales stopped at 9pm in off-licences and corner shops.

"We're also in discussion with some other places, like Leeds and West Yorkshire.

"I think that is the right approach, obviously we keep the situation under review, but it is right that we try everything in our power to avoid a blanket national lockdown."

His comments came after Germany and France both announced they were heading into second lockdowns to cope with the ever-growing numbers of new coronavirus cases.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the country was being "overpowered" by the second wave, and said a new nationwide lockdown would be the only possible way to successfully fight Covid-19.

France saw one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, with citizens expected to show papers detailing why they were leaving their homes.

It is expected these measures will be reimplemented, and people will only be allowed to leave their homes for work, medical appointments and essential exercise. Schools however, will remain open.

Angela Merkel also announced on Wednesday Germany's lockdown will come into effect on November 2 and will see bars and restaurants closing until 30 November.

Shops will be allowed to remain open on condition that there is only one customer per 10 square metres of space.

According to the federal government's proposal, all leisure facilities such as theatres, operas, cinemas, swimming pools and fitness studios, but also bars, clubs, discos and pubs will close.

But the "delivery and collection of takeaway meals for consumption at home" will remain open, as will schools and kindergartens.