UK 'at risk' of third wave of Covid-19 in January unless right balance is struck

The UK is at risk of a third wave of coronavirus infections in January unless it gets the balance of restrictions right, a Cabinet minister has warned.

And Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who deputised for Boris Johnson in leading the government’s Covid-19 response when the PM was in hospital, told the BBC would not rule out a third national lockdown to combat another wave of the virus.

Asked if a third wave was a possibility, he said: “There’s a risk of that if we don’t get the balance right. But so far the R level is coming down, that’s really important.

And that’s why we’re starting with the tiered approach – more restrictive than some people would like, than previously, but that allows us to ease up – but only when…”

Host Andrew Marr interjected, asking whether, if the government doesn’t get the “behaviour” it wants now and over Christmas, there could be another national lockdown in the new year.

Mr Raab replied: “We’re doing everything we can to avoid that.”

He wouldn’t rule out a third national lockdown

Asked if he would back a fresh lockdown if it did happen, Mr Raab would not rule it out.

He said: “You’re getting well ahead. I’ve explained the government’s exit strategy from, frankly, the current set of restrictions.”

It comes after Boris Johnson warned there will be “disastrous consequences” for the NHS without the introduction of new tiered coronavirus restrictions when the national lockdown ends next week.

The Prime Minister, who faces a Commons showdown with his own MPs over the stringent measures, urged the nation to “work together” with tiering, testing and vaccines.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, he stressed that it was too early to relax restrictions, but said he believed Easter would mark a “real chance to return to something like life as normal”.

Mr Johnson said: “We can’t blow it now. We can’t just throw it all away – not when freedom is in sight. We have worked too hard, lost too many, sacrificed too much, just to see our efforts incinerated in another volcanic eruption of the virus…

“We are so nearly out of our captivity. We can see the sunlit upland pastures ahead. But if we try to jump the fence now, we will simply tangle ourselves in the last barbed wire, with disastrous consequences for the NHS.


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