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Half term could be extended to two weeks in ‘firebreak lockdown’ as COVID cases rise

According to multiple news reports this morning, a plan for a two-week ‘firebreak lockdown’ in England is being prepared if Covid hospitalisations continues to grow.

There have been a sharp increase in the number of COVID hospitalisations in England over the last week.

According to a report in The i, there is a plan for restrictions during the school half-term that could potentially include extending the week long break to a fortnight, amid fears the NHS will come under pressure as we head into the winter months.

A member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) told The i that the UK is about to enter “an extended peak” of infections and hospitalisations, and that concern is growing that the health service faces being overwhelmed.

“We are going to be at a peak, albeit an extended peak, quite soon, so it’s not really the same situation as last year, when failure to reduce prevalence would have resulted in collapse of NHS and people dying in car parks,” he added.

“Hospitals might be overflowing before deaths reach the same level. Acting early will prevent this level.”

Dr Hilary Jones said: “If we have a lot more hospital admissions, if the UK gets a new variant of the virus coming in, we cannot predict that, then we have a massive problem. You have to weigh the health problem with an economic problem and nobody wants a lockdown, but it might happen.

“The death rates are better now – which is good, but that is because we have probably got better care now and the vaccine rollout.”

However, the Government has denied the reports. A spokesman told The Mirror: “It is not true that the Government is planning a lockdown or firebreak around the October half term.

“As set out in July, the Government retains contingency plans as part of responsible planning for a range of scenarios, but such measures would only be re-introduced as a last resort to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS.”