by Andy Bruce/Reuters
LONDON (Reuters) – The one-month lockdown for England announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson this weekend could be extended as Britain struggles to contain a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior cabinet member said on Sunday.
After resisting the prospect of a new national lockdown for most of last month, Johnson announced on Saturday that new restrictions across England would kick in after midnight on Thursday morning and last until Dec. 2.
The United Kingdom, which has the biggest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19, is grappling with more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day and scientists have warned a worst-case scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded this winter.
Asked if a lockdown could be extended beyond early December, senior cabinet minister Michael Gove told Sky News: “Yes.”
Britain has reported 46,717 COVID-19 deaths – defined as those dying within 28 days of a positive test. A broader measure of those with COVID-19 on their death certificates puts the toll at 58,925.
“We can definitively say that unless we take action now, the (health service) is going to be overwhelmed in ways that none of us could countenance,” Gove said.