London, Oct 14 (efe-epa).- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday defended his regional approach to the government’s coronavirus response.
He has faced increasing pressure from the opposition and scientific experts to apply a nationwide “circuit breaker” lockdown to slow the country’s soaring infection rates.
Johnson told MPs in the House of Commons that another national lockdown would be a “disaster” although he added that he would not rule anything out in the campaign against Covid-19.
Labour leader Keir Starmer accused the prime minister of ignoring the government’s emergency scientific advisory group (SAGE), which has recommended a short, so-called circuit-break lockdown in England to protect the health service and prevent deaths.
“Having read and considered the SAGE advice, I have genuinely concluded that a circuit break is in the national interest,” Starmer said.
The Conservative government’s new system puts regions into three alert levels depending on infection rates, which range from medium to high and very high risk.
The majority of England is in tier one, which means social gatherings are limited to six people and hostelry must close at 10pm but parts of northeast England and Manchester are in tier two, meaning the mixing of households is prohibited indoors.
However, Liverpool woke up to tier three restrictions on Wednesday, meaning people from different households are not allowed to meet in private or public, pubs and restaurants not serving food and gyms, cinemas and casinos must close for a month.
The city has a Covid-19 infection rate of 625 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Police were forced to disperse crowds of revelers on Tuesday evening who formed in the street after pubs closed for what could be the last time in a month.