Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs in the House of Commons today that there is “no alternative but to take action” to impose a second national lockdown.
Johnson gave a grim warning that the death toll could be twice as high from the first wave over the winter months, and warned Tory rebels contesting the second lockdown.
The Prime Minister said, “Models from our scientists suggest that unless we act now, we could see deaths over the winter that are twice as bad or more compared with the first wave.
“Faced with these latest figures, there is no alternative but to take further action at a national level.
“I know some in the House believe we should have reached this decision earlier, but I believe it was right to try every possible option to get this virus under control at a local level, with strong local action and strong local leadership.”
He warned that the “virus is doubling faster” than England can conceivably add capacity to hospitals, and he told MPs that he is “truly sorry” of the “anguish” that will caused over the month long lockdown.
Johnson added, “Let me spell out the medical and moral disaster we face. If we allow our health system to be overwhelmed, exactly as the data now suggests, then that would not only be a disaster for thousands of Covid patients, because their survival rates would fall, we would also reach a point where the NHS was no longer there for everyone.
“The sick would be turned away because there was no room in our hospitals.
“That sacred principle of care for anyone who needs it, whoever they are and wherever, whenever they need it, could be broken for the first time in our lives.
“Doctors and nurses could be forced to choose which patients to treat, who would live and who would die. And this existential threat to our NHS comes not from focusing too much on coronavirus, but from not focusing enough.
“If we fail to get coronavirus under control, it is the sheer weight of demand from Covid patients that would deprive others of the care they need.
“Cancer treatment, heart surgery, other life-saving procedures, all this could be put at risk if we do not get the virus under control.”