Culture Secretary refuses to rule out second national lockdown amid coronavirus spike

12 October 2020, 10:38

Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

The Culture Secretary has refused to rule out a second national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari, Oliver Dowden said the Government "doesn't want" to take the drastic new measure but refused to say whether it could be ruled out in the coming weeks and months if the virus continues to spread out of control.

He said: "The Prime Minister will set out full details of [new lockdown measures] but the Cabinet agreed it last night and there'll be a Cobra meeting today to sign it off.

"It is not a full lockdown - it is a measures, balanced and proportionate approach on a tiered system."

Nick highlighted the prediction by Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance that there would be 49-50,000 new Covid-19 cases each day by the middle of October and how Sunday's figures were in fact just over 12,000 cases.

Asked whether a new lockdown was necessary, Mr Dowden said: "What Patrick Vallance was talking about was the worst case scenario and clearly the number of infections is still rising rapidly.

"I don't think anyone could dispute that and there's a particular problem in parts of the North, for example Merseyside and so on."

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden refused to rule out a second national lockdown during an LBC interview
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden refused to rule out a second national lockdown during an LBC interview. Picture: LBC

The new tier system will place areas in England into three risk categories - medium, high or very high - with places in the 'very high' category expected to be told to close hospitality venues and non-essential shops.

There is also speculation that people living in those areas will be told they cannot leave - prompting Nick to ask the Culture Secretary how it will be enforced, which he refused to answer.

"I don't want to get into the details of the announcement," he said.

"I do because my listeners are confused," Nick rebutted.

Mr Dowden replied: "Nick that is exactly the point - I think it's important that the Prime Minister is able to announce the full details of the package this afternoon.

"If I start getting drawn into things that may or may not be in that package it's not going to help that process, but of course the police will have appropriate enforcement powers."