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National lockdown: A second lockdown would coincide with the October half-term to create minimal disruption to schools, experts on the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-m) have proposed.

One SAGE scientist said that if the R number continues at the same rate, it would “break the NHS”, the Financial Times reports

Responding to the report, Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth MP said: “Labour warned months ago that unless the government spent the summer fixing the testing regime then we would face a bleak winter.

“The government ignored that advice, the testing regime is collapsing and so it is not surprising national restrictions are back on the table.

“The Conservatives’ incompetence is holding Britain back and damaging the national effort to stop the spread of this virus.”

Coronavirus cases have been doubling every seven to eight days in England, according to a study by Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Commons on Thursday the rise in cases is “concerning”, while new local restrictions are being introduced in North East Englandand Lancashire is also expected to come under new measures.

The government has recently dismissed suggestions of a second national lockdown, with Boris Johnson saying it would be “disastrous” for the economy – but it appears he may be coming under increasing pressure from scientists.

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Also Read: Health Secretary Matt Hancock won’t rule out second national lockdown