Sunday 2 August 2020 3:18 pm

Boris Johnson considers M25 border among new lockdown measures

Boris Johnson is considering a fresh raft of lockdown measures in England including restricting travel beyond the M25, as the Prime Minister scrambles to contain a spike in infections across the country.

Plans are being assessed after a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases last week forced the Prime Minister to apply the brakes on lockdown relaxations set to be introduced over the weekend.

Read more: Coronavirus in England: What’s the R number for your area?

Johnson is said to have held a “war game” session with chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday to mull over options to avert another nationwide lockdown that would hamper the UK’s economic recovery.

Measures being considered include banning overnight stays and telling people not to travel in and out of the capital, the Sunday Times reported.

Other measures being mooted include “personalised risk scores” for people aged between 50 and 70, in a move that would add to the 2.2m most vulnerable Brits forced to shield during lockdown.

Shielding advice was only lifted yesterday for those in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and remains in place until 16 August for those shielding in Wales.

Downing Street sources today dismissed the claims as “speculative”.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick told Times Radio: “This is just speculation. You would expect the government to be considering all of the range of options that might be available. That’s not something that is being actively considered.”

It comes as new cases of coronavirus in England last week spiked for the first time since April, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

ONS figures showed that there were around 4,200 new infections in the community per day in England between 20 July and 26 July.

The sharp spike caused the government on Thursday to introduce fresh lockdown restrictions in virus hotspots in the north of England.

People in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire are now banned from meeting other households indoors, in a move described by health secretary Matt Hancock as “absolutely necessary”.

Read more: Matt Hancock: Quarantine could return as second wave hits Europe

Earlier this week, Boris Johnson said “clearly we now face the threat of a second wave in other parts of Europe.”

He added: “We must remain vigilant and continue to follow the official guidance to keep the virus under control and prevent any second wave.”

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