THE leader of Northwich and Winsford's borough council has slammed the Government after reports that a nationwide lockdown will be called next week emerged overnight.

Both The Times and the Daily Mail are reporting that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce a tightening of Covid-19 rules across the country in the coming days.

It comes despite senior figures in the Conservative Government arguing against such a lockdown in recent weeks, following calls from Labour and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).

Cllr Louise Gittins, Labour leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, has reacted angrily to the news emerging despite a lack of engagement with councils.

“Once again no discussions with local government about a national lockdown,” she wrote on Twitter.

“I’m furious beyond words as I’m sure all in [the Local Government Association are].”

The Times is reporting that Mr Johnson could hold a press conference announcing the lockdown on Monday, before the rules come in on Wednesday and last throughout November.

Everything except essential shops and education settings could be closed under the new measures, the paper said, but no final decisions are believed to have been made.

Tougher regional measures are also being considered.

Mike Amesbury, Labour MP for Weaver Vale, has also criticised the Government since the news emerged.

He wrote on Twitter: “Incompetence is in the DNA of this Government. Sage called for this in September and PM Johnson rejected it.

“Labour pressed for a national circuit breaker to coincide with half term, rejected once again. No lessons learnt at every stage.”

Officials at 10 Downing Street are reportedly furious that details of a cabinet meeting where the potential lockdown was discussed have been leaked to the national press.

But the reports come as a survey from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found cases ‘continued to rise steeply’ in the week ending October 23, with an estimated 568,100 people in households becoming infected.

Scientific advisers at the top of Government now believe it is now too late for a two-week national circuit-breaker to have enough of an effect and a longer national lockdown is needed to drive the reproduction number, or R value, of the virus below one.

Winsford Guardian:

A graph showing how coronavirus cases have risen over the month in Cheshire (Credit: LDRS)

All parts of England are on course to eventually end up in Tier 3 restrictions, they believe, while deaths could potentially hit 500 per day within weeks.

Government scientists are also confident that more than 50,000 new cases of coronavirus are now occurring every day in England.

Professor Jeremy Farrar, an infectious diseases expert and Sage member, said on Friday evening that to bring coronavirus under control ‘we have to act now’.

He wrote on Twitter: "The best time to act was a month ago but these are very tough decisions which we would all like to avoid. The second-best time is now.

"The sooner we get on top of the disease, reduce transmission, [get the R below one], the sooner we can get our society back to normal and the economy back on track."

However, business leaders say the move would be 'absolutely devastating' for the hospitality industry.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive at UK Hospitality, told BBC Breakfast today: "People have borrowed up to the hilt and spent money in order to get Covid-secure.

"There is no spare capacity in the tank to be able to fund a lockdown, even for three to four weeks."

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