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Ed Argar said that while some areas of the UK will be required to abide by strict curfew rules from Friday, the surge in coronavirus cases is not currently suggesting the need for national measures. The Health Minister insisted the Government is seeking to contain the spread of the virus with all measures necessary as he reiterated the Prime Minister is against the reimposition of a new UK-wide lockdown. Asked whether a national curfew could soon be needed, Mr Argar told the Today programme: “I don’t think we’re in that place where you need to consider that on a national basis.
“The whole purpose of our local lockdown strategy a) it’s reacting to infection rates in a particular area, and b) reactive to what local councils and public health teams ask us for and what they want.
“If we get this right with local lockdowns, and we saw in Leicester it worked, we’ve seen those rates come down and we’ve seen the removal of restrictions in Leicestershire. It does work and it does control the local level.”
He continued: “I don’t think we’re at a place where we would wish to see or need to see national-level restrictions.
“But that comes down as well to all of us following the rules, be they local lockdown guidelines or indeed the national law and guidance.”
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to update restrictions on Thursday, with over two million residents in northeast England facing the prospect of a curfew and stricter social distancing measures.
Nick Forbes, the leader of Newcastle City council, confirmed “additional, temporary” restriction policies are now being planned to avoid a full lockdown in the area.
The new rules are expected to affect Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Country Durham and Sunderland.
All areas have recently experienced a significant spike in new coronavirus infections.
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