New lockdown could be extended beyond December, minister confirms

Michael Gove, pictured with prime minister Boris Johnson. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Images

Michael Gove, pictured with prime minister Boris Johnson. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Cabinet minister Michael Gove has refused to rule out England’s new national lockdown being extended beyond December 2.

Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Gove said: “It will be reviewed on December 2 but we will always be driven by what the data shows.

“We believe all the measures that have been put in place will reduce the R rate below 1 and that is the point you will see a decline of the virus.”

The presenter asked whether if the R rate does not fall below 1, the lockdown would be extended.

Mr Gove replied: “We will look at all of the data, we’ve got this 4 week period during which we’re going to view progress but of course we’ll always be driven by the data.”

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Later, asked by Sophy Ridge could lockdown be extended, he answered: “Yes.”

He said: “We want to be in a position where we can - and I believe that this is likely to be the case - have an approach where if we bring down the rate of infection sufficiently we can reduce measures nationally and also reduce measures regionally.

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“Because the regional approach is one that, wherever possible, we want to take because again we recognise it may be the case in the future that having reduced R below 1, having reduced national restrictions, we may see a specific upsurge in specific areas which will require specific regional measures.”

On Saturday afternoon, prime minister Boris Johnson put England into a second national lockdown, saying measures - which include the closure of non-essential shops and hospitality and people being told to stay at home - would begin on Thursday.

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