Another lockdown 'still on the cards' in event of deadly Covid variant

The Prime Minister said he couldn’t rule out something that could help 'save lives'.

Boris Johnson says it would be ‘irresponsible’ to rule out further lockdowns in event of deadly Covid variant Alena Kravchenko via iStock
Covid-19: The fight to stem the spread of the deadly virus goes on.

Boris Johnson has said it would be “irresponsible” to rule out further lockdowns if more deadly Covid variants emerge.

The Prime Minister said he couldn’t rule out something that could help “save lives”.

His comments come amid the nation’s fight against the new Omicron strain, BA.2.

According to the latest Office for National Statistics data, one in 12 people in Scotland are thought to have caught Covid.

The rate of coronavirus hospital admissions in Scotland have recently hit repeated record highs. Hospital admissions in England are also at their highest since January 2021.

Speaking to Conservative MPs Esther McVey and Philip Davies for GB News, the PM said: “I want to avoid any such thing ever happening again and I can’t rule out something, I can’t say we wouldn’t be forced to do non-pharmaceutical interventions again of the kind we did.

“I think it would be irresponsible of any leader in any democracy to say that they’re going to rule out something that can save lives.

“I believe the things we did saved lives.

“I’ve got to be absolutely frank with you, there could be a new variant more deadly, there could be a variant that affects children, that we really need to contain.

“I’m not going to take any options off the table. But I don’t think it will happen.

“We’re now in the phase where the virus is losing its potency overall and we’ve got a massively vaccinated UK population.”

According to the latest Public Health Scotland figures, weekly Covid cases have decreased by almost a third.

In the week ending April 3, there were 48,199 cases of Covid-19 in Scotland which were identified by PCR or lateral flow devices – a 32.9% drop from the previous week.

Data from National Records of Scotland (NRS) also showed there were 170 deaths linked to the virus in the week ending April 3 – down by 23 from the previous seven days.

Most of Scotland’s Covid-19 rules have already been converted into guidance.

From Easter Monday, the wider legal requirement for wearing face masks – which applies to shops, public transport and some other indoor settings – will finally be relaxed.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon delayed the lifting of the restriction following a spike in Covid cases.

She said the decision was made due to the “very high level of infection and the pressure on the NHS”.

Emma Thomson, professor in infectious disease at the Centre for Virus Research at Glasgow University, earlier told STV News: “There’s no guarantee that the next variant will be of the same or a lighter severity than Omicron.

“We may unfortunately find that in the coming years we see variants which are more severe in terms of the disease they can cause.

“We will have to look out for that, and we will have to make very careful decisions about when to revaccinate people.”