Could the UK be set for a November lockdown?

On the 31st October 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a four-week lockdown for November to prevent a ‘medical and moral disaster’ for the NHS. With cases risisng across the UK, could we be set for another lockdown this year?

Only Yesterday, the Office for National Statistics revealed that the UK recorded a further 33 deaths from Covid-19, as cases rose by 35,077.

Since March 2020, people, businesses, and governments across the globe have had to deal with the impacts of lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions. And although the last few of those restrictions have now been lifted, there has been a growing number of experts revealing that another lockdown could happen next month.

Although reports of a potential ‘firebreak’ lockdown didn’t materialise this month, rumours remain that some restrictions could be reinstated in the weeks ahead.

Last month, a £5.4bn funding package was announced to help the NHS cope with the Covid-19 pandemic and tackle the mounting backlog of treatments and appointments. £1bn has been ring-fenced to tackle the coronavirus backlog, with a further £2.8bn help fund infection control measures and up to £500m will be used for hospital discharge programmes.

Boris Johnson’s government had reportedly considered the reintroduction of social distancing measures and a limit on social gatherings at work and in public spaces, meaning face coverings could potentially also make a return to everyday life.

With winter and flu season ahead, SAGE experts revealed that in a ‘worst case scenario’ where infections hit 100,000 a day, that is when the government may step in.

Should there be another lockdown?

Business Leader spoke to some industry leaders to find out what they think about the potential of another lockdown next month.

Matt Gubba, CEO and Founder of BizBritain, comments: “The idea of further lockdowns or restrictions on SMEs at this point is, frankly, absurd. Lockdowns are not only deeply harmful to most small businesses, there is now a great deal of evidence showing they have a very limited impact on preventing the spread of coronavirus. The data doesn’t lie, and what it shows is on average, nations who had very strict lockdowns have fared no better than those who had few if any restrictions whatsoever in terms of deaths. When you add the fact most people have now been vaccinated, there is no rational argument for further damaging our economy and the livelihoods of millions of business owners via more lockdowns. Further restrictions at this point would be unforgivable.”

Rob Vivian, CEO of telecoms provider PureComms was also asked his views on what a potential lockdown would mean for him. He said: “If another lockdown was announced, I would feel let down by this government, but that’s probably more to do with their handling of the pandemic in general. I don’t feel entirely confident they know what they are doing so I would treat another lockdown with a certain scepticism.”

Simon Robinson, Director of global headhunting firm Red Diamond, was asked by Business Leader to provide an analysis on whether he would feel let down by the government if another lockdown was announced.

He comments: “It would not let me down if a lockdown was to happen again, if it was for the right reasons. The NHS is a very important part of our society that supports people whenever they need it. We need to make sure there is capacity there for people’s needs. A lockdown would be inconvenient and I think a lot of people will be against it. I feel that we have moved on from lockdowns and to have another would affect a lot of people.

“The previous lockdowns were mentally taxing for a lot of people and the thought of going back in to one will affect many. Also, it would depend on the duration of the lockdown. Would one week be enough to make a difference? Would a month be the right length? However, I don’t think a month lockdown would go down well with many.”