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Coronavirus: New five-step plan for local lockdowns announced by PM | UK News

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The government has announced a five-step plan for imposing local lockdowns in the case of coronavirus spikes.

Boris Johnson said the government is now moving to a local focus rather than locking down the entire country.

Talking at a Downing Street coronavirus briefing, he said the five-step plan will include: monitoring, engagement, testing, targeted restrictions and local lockdown “as a last resort”.

Chief medical officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, urged people to keep following social distancing rules as lockdown restrictions are eased from Saturday, with pubs, restaurants and hairdressers allowed to open.

He said: “If individuals, families and firms do not take them seriously the possibility of a second wave goes up sharply.

“The virus is a long way from gone, it’s not going to be gone for a long time.

“Nobody watching this believes there are no risks in the next step.”

The five steps for introducing a local lockdown:

Monitoring

Public Health England (PHE) will work with the joint biosecurity sector by looking at data of the spread of coronavirus and people’s behaviour across the country.

They will look for emerging trends, rising cases and other indicators, while taking into account local factors.

Engagement

If monitoring identifies local problems, NHS Test and Trace and PHE will work with the relevant local authority to develop a deeper understanding of the problem and identify solutions.

They will work with local agencies to keep the local community informed at every stage so they know what they need to do.

Testing

Testing at a local level will then be scaled-up, combined with contract tracing through NHS Test and Trace to try to control the virus at that stage.

Targeted restrictions

If the virus continues to spread, activities at particular locations will be restricted and individual premises will be closed.

Hotspots will have access restricted, with people who have spent time there tested and contact tracing carried out for anyone who tests positive.

Local lockdown

If the previous measures do not stop the spread, local lockdowns will be extended across whole communities, with businesses and schools shut down as people are urged to stay at home.

Mr Johnson said the government is “continually exploring smarter means of containing the virus”.

The prime minister said they have successfully carried out a few local lockdowns so far.

He said an outbreak was identified in Weston-Super-Mare at a hospital which was closed to visitors and new admissions, all staff and patients were tested and the hospital was given a deep clean, containing the outbreak and allowing the hospital to reopen.

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