UK News COVID curbs likely until Easter as Gove launches fightback against Tory rebels

07:15  28 november  2020
07:15  28 november  2020 Source:   news.sky.com

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Michael Gove says it is his "fervent hope" that England's new lockdown will end on 2 December - but that We know the amount of non- Covid treatment for things such as cancer care and routine surgery is still not back to But it's still likely there are a significant number of available beds in many places.

Locked in until Easter : Almost the entire nation is to be banned from socialising indoors until April as Tories Covid -19 spreads more easily in winter – at a time when the NHS will also be facing huge pressures Boris Johnson overruled Michael Gove 's call for London to be placed under the harshest

COVID-19 restrictions are likely to be in force until Easter, Sky News has learned, as Boris Johnson heads for a Commons showdown with rebel Tory MPs over the new tiers.

a group of people walking on a city street: Coronavirus curbs may last until Easter © PA Coronavirus curbs may last until Easter

Senior sources have revealed that even if large numbers of COVID-19 vaccinations begin at the end of January it will be Easter - on 4 April next year - before life returns to normal.

The stark warning, handed to the prime minister and senior ministers by government scientific advisers, contrasts with more optimistic forecasts by Mr Johnson in recent days.

The gloomy prediction coincides with a government fightback by the Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove against rebel Tory MPs threatening to vote against the new tiers on Tuesday.

Christmas COVID rules to be set out 'as we approach 2 December', says minister

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Some believe up to 70 Tory backbenchers could refuse to support the government, leaving Johnson reliant on Labour votes to implement the policy. The chair of the public administration and constitutional affairs committee, William Wragg, wrote to Michael Gove on Friday posing a series of questions

Mr Gove said the government had 'always followed the scientific advice', pointing out it had published much of the information it been given by experts. The correspondent who visited Dongguan said: 'The markets have gone back to operating in exactly the same way as they did before coronavirus.

Writing in The Times, Mr Gove says every hospital in England faces being overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases if MPs fail to back the government's tough new restrictions in the vote.

Warning that it could be Easter before coronavirus restrictions are lifted, one source familiar with the government's scientific advice told Sky News: "This has been the running assumption.

"If you think that vaccines will start going in arms in large numbers at the end of January, it will be Easter by the time life changes properly and there would be restrictions until then.

"The government has also been very clear that the restrictions will go to January and beyond."

Earlier, during a visit to the Porton Down research laboratory near Salisbury, the prime minister raised the prospect of local authorities being moved into lower tiers in the review planned for 16 December.

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Michael Gove has vowed to keep fighting for Number 10 despite suffering major setbacks in his leadership campaign. Rudd was seen as a Tory kingmaker and opted for Hunt over Gove and Johnson. Further cabinet heavyweights are expected to back Hunt in order to stop Boris.

Tory Remain Rebels : 8 (down 3). Pro-EU Tory MPs who voted against the deal last time are likely Mr Gove warned MPs that votes on vital Brexit legislation could be held during Easter . Everything turns on how many Tory rebels return to vote for the deal. Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the

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But the government's scientific advisers have stressed that this is unlikely, particularly before Christmas, a warning that is likely to incense many Tory MPs ahead of next week's vote.

Senior Conservative MPs are predicting a rebellion by up to 70 Tory backbenchers, which would mean the prime minister would have to rely on Labour votes to avoid a humiliating defeat.

In other developments:

  • More than 1,300 people were wrongly told they had coronavirus due to a lab error with NHS Test and Trace
  • The relaxation of coronavirus restrictions over Christmas will increase infections "potentially by a large amount", the government's scientific advisers have warned.
  • A COVID-19 vaccine could be available at hospitals in England in as few as 10 days, it has been reported.

Writing in The Times, Mr Gove revealed the decision to impose a four-week lockdown earlier this month was taken after scientists warned the lockdown rules were not enough to prevent the NHS from being "physically overwhelmed".

London and Liverpool in Tier 2 - Birmingham and Manchester in Tier 3 as new system revealed

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Tory MPs had been pushing for the capital to be kept out of the highest bracket. Sources close to Mr Gove refused to comment on discussions at the ' Covid O' Cabinet committee on Wednesday Up to 70 Tory MPs are threatening to rebel in a crucial vote next week after it emerged only Cornwall, the

A slew of senior Tories have threatened to rebel in a crunch vote on the plans next week. In a blatant attempt to prove England's original three-tier system wasn't tough enough to curb Covid , Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick wheeled out charts that showed how deaths and hospital admissions

He wrote: "Every bed, every ward occupied. All the capacity built in the Nightingales and requisitioned from the private sector too. The numbers infected with COVID-19 and requiring a bed would displace all but emergency cases. And then even those.

"Mr Gove said MPs should not fall for "comfortable evasions" that things were now different or put their constituencies ahead of the national interest.

"When the country is facing such a national crisis, the truth is that all of us who have been elected to parliament, not just ministers, must take responsibility for difficult decisions.

"COVID-19 is no respecter of constituency boundaries and the hardships we are facing now are unfortunately necessary to protect every single one of us, no matter where we live."

Mr Gove described the new restrictions that will see the vast majority of England in tougher tiers as "grimly, inevitably, necessary" to prevent the NHS from being unable to treat emergency patients.

"The level of infection across the country remains uncontrollably and threateningly high," he said. "Across the UK, around 16,000 beds are filled with COVID-19 patients, which compares with almost 20,000 at the April peak.

"From the current high base, any sharp uptick in infection could see the NHS under even more severe threat again."

Mr Gove also rejected suggestions that the measures were economically damaging, arguing that without them "the economy would grind to a halt" as a terrified population stayed at home rather than risked going out without care.

He also accepted that the previous tiers "were neither strong enough to reduce social contact sufficiently, nor applied widely enough to contain the virus's spread... and that is the difficult lesson we cannot unlearn as this lockdown ends".

Third national lockdown not ruled out as minister warns it may be summer before we 'get back to normal' .
It is "too early to say" if another national lockdown will be needed after Christmas, according to a senior minister. George Eustice said "you can't rule anything out" when asked by Sky News if the "stay at home" measures could come back into force to keep coronavirus under control.The environment secretary also admitted it may be as late as "next summer" until "we can all start to get back to normal" - dependent on a vaccine.A crucial vote is coming up in parliament tomorrow on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's tier system and attempted return to a regional rules approach from 2 December.

usr: 2
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