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Boris refuses to rule out a fourth national lockdown

by Mark Fitt Political Journalist
16th Feb 21 9:55 am

The Prime Minister has declined to rule out a fourth lockdown and would not promise for another set of restrictions could be avoided in the future.

Boris Johnson was asked if he can guarantee there will not be a fourth national lockdown, he said, “No, I can’t give that guarantee, of course not, no. We’re battling with nature, with a disease that is capable of mutating and changing.

“I’m increasingly confident, I’m increasingly optimistic about the sheer extent of the possibilities that are opening up with vaccinations, I’ll be setting out as much of a timetable as we can give on February 22.

“And I’m very hopeful that we’ll be able to go ahead and open things up.”

There concerns that Johnson is easing the restrictions too early which could lead to a third wave.

Professor Stephen Reicher, who sits on the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B), has warned of a fourth lockdown if the easing of this one is not “handled properly.”

Professor Reicher was asked if there is any danger of a fourth lockdown if the emergence from this one is not handled properly.

He warned, “Of course there is.

“In the same way that we didn’t want a second lockdown, we didn’t want a third lockdown. We’ve repeated the same mistake time after time after time.”

Johnson added, “To say I can give an absolute cast-iron guarantee that we won’t face further difficulties and have to think harder and deeper about some problems.

“At this stage, I can’t.

“But I don’t want people to think I’m not optimistic. I think there’s been a big change and the big change is that science is now unquestionably in the ascendancy over the disease and that’s manifested in all sorts of ways, not just through a vaccination but also with better therapies.”

Professor Reicher warned over giving people dates for when restrictions will be lifted, which could leave people feeling “hopeless and helpless” if they do not go ahead.

He added, “We can’t do everything at once, therefore we’ve got to think seriously about what our priorities are.

“And if we do open everything at once the danger is we have to close everything at once.

“It certainly seems to be that the priority is to get schools open, we need to make sure that we can make schools open safely before we think of going back to the pub.”

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