The UK under Lockdown again? Bewildered Government Must Decide!

All pandemic restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of Covid-19 were lifted in July across the UK. But since the early days of September, there has been a steady rise in the number of positive cases and deaths. If the government announces another complete lockdown in autumn, it will create financial fears for businesses. If it does not impose new restrictions, however, there will be huge pressure on the NHS, which has been already struggling with Covid-19 and more complex diseases.


Ever since Covid-19 began spreading in the United Kingdom, as in all other countries around the world, the country has experienced several lockdowns and huge economic pressures. Based on official data, more than seven million people have been tested positive in the UK, and around three hundred people have died of the disease. Based on official government statistics, more than 272 thousand people tested positive last week and around one thousand people lost their lives. Nationwide vaccination started in Britain before many other European countries, and so far a good percentage of the population has been double-jabbed. Despite the good vaccination speed in the UK, many new cases have been reported in recent weeks and more people are being hospitalised. The past few weeks have seen a steady rise in the number of people who lost their lives because of Covid -19.

NHS Staff Demand October Lockdown

The National Health Service (NHS) has asked the government for another lockdown during October to protect the staff from mounting pressures. Some officials in the NHS have warned that there should be an autumn lockdown everywhere in the country to avoid a surge in the flu season during the winter, which could put huge pressure on the NHS staff. Last January, over 68 thousand positive cases were recorded on a daily basis. Now, the UK is far from this number, but a rise in new cases and the number of hospitalised patients is worrying. On the other hand, during the previous waves of the pandemic, the NHS was forced to postpone some of health services to free beds for Covid-19 patients. With a reduction in Covid cases over the last few weeks, the NHS staff has been struggling to manage the 5.45 people who have been on the waiting list for other treatments.

Restrictions Might Replace a Full Lockdown

The NHS has suggested a firebreak lockdown for October, warning that there will be large numbers of patients in hospitals if there is an extended peak of infections. Although the number of Covid patients has dropped overall, the NHS staff have been busy dealing with surgeries and treatments which had been put on hold. There have been long waits in A&E departments, placing extra pressure on hospitals and staff who are under stress, dealing with an overwhelming amount of work. Patients with advanced or complex diseases are now being treated in hospitals and, with another surge in the number of Covid-19 patients, more demands will be intolerable for the staff. The UK government has ruled out a full lockdown and an official of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has said that if another wave hits the country, the government will be forced to introduce restrictions to control the disease. Downing Street has denied any proposals for a lockdown during school half-term in October, but announced that further restrictions are an option if the NHS is overwhelmed.

Complete Removal of Restrictions Was Irresponsible

It was in July that Britain lifted Covid-19 restrictions across the country and dubbed the movement “Freedom Day” for the UK. Since then, mandatory mask wearing has been lifted; limits on how many people could meet or attend events were removed; nightclubs reopened and the government’s instructions to work from home were also removed. England and Scotland both removed limits on social contact and rules were back to normal across Britain. Several expert staff called the full lifting of restrictions an irresponsible move and warned of the consequences in the upcoming months. Public health experts had warned the government that lifting restrictions in July was too soon, because new variants of the virus were spreading rapidly. Around two months after the so-called Freedom Day, the number of Covid-19 cases is rising once again and the highest figures for deaths and hospitalisations since the third wave of the pandemic, which began in May, have been reported.

UK Economic Recovery Is Slow

Brexit and the pandemic, hand in hand, have been adding to inflationary pressures, leading to slow economic recovery in Britain. A new report by the South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (SWAMS) reported that 260 companies participating in a study had said they were struggling with the joint impact of lockdown and Brexit, and the number of supply workers and lack of staff and materials were pushing prices up. In July, there was a surge in the cost of raw materials, with the biggest rise in a decade happening in the price of goods leaving factory doors. Also, the Bank of England warned that the UK’s economic recovery from Covid-19 was slow and there was an imbalance in the demand for goods and services. The UK government reopened businesses to boost the economy and is reluctant to reverse the great gains of reopening the economy across the country. According to the vaccines minister, going back to any form of lockdown would be the worst thing to do to the economy.

UK Businesses Under Financial Pressure During Lockdowns

UK businesses came under financial pressures during complete lockdown. When Boris Johnson decided to delay the easing of restrictions until July, many business leaders asked the government for further support. Any lockdown could be a blow to many businesses and the treasury will undergo more pressures to provide support for those hit by the pandemic. With another lockdown, the government may have to provide another furlough scheme, providing 80% of the usual salary, but this puts enormous financial pressure on the government. Besides, imposing another lockdown on the country may have a critical impact on businesses which will require further cash grants provided by the government. Yet, no lockdown means more patients and more pressure on hospitals. In order to regain control of Covid-19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson could introduce mask-wearing and social distancing in public places, and also he may consider more travel restrictions.


It was in July that Britain lifted Covid-19 restrictions all around the country so mandatory mask wearing was lifted and limits for meetings and businesses were removed. At the time, several experts called for the full lifting of the pandemic restrictions, a careless measure which could end in another surge of infections. During recent days in September, there has been a steady growth in the number of infected people and death cases have risen to a record high since the past six months. As more people with Covid-19 are being hospitalised in the UK, some experts have asked for an autumn lockdown in October to prevent a winter increase of Covid-19 patients. The NHS is under pressure and although it is dealing with fewer coronavirus cases, staff are still overwhelmed with patients whose treatments were postponed due to the pandemic. Moreover, the UK economy is under inflationary pressure due to a series of lockdowns creating a slow economic recovery. The government does not want to reverse the great economic gains of removing the lockdown and is not planning another one in October, but it might be forced to introduce some restrictions to save the NHS.

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