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The UK may face a shorter 'firebreak' lockdown in October to tie in with half term, according to various reports.
Yesterday (6 September), an unnamed member of the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) told the i newspaper that the UK is about to enter 'an extended peak' of infections and hospitalisations.
This could force the government to re-introduce restrictions over the school half term period at the end of next month.
They said: "This is essentially the precautionary break that SAGE suggested last year.
"It would be sensible to have contingency plans, and if a lockdown is required, to time it so that it has minimal economic and societal impact."
The scientist said the vaccine rollout means this winter is unlikely to be anywhere near as bad as last year's, adding: "It's not really the same situation as last year, when failure to reduce prevalence would have resulted in collapse of NHS and people dying in car parks."
While Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi did not rule out the return of restrictions and an extended October half term, he has said it would be the 'worst' option.
Zahawi told Sky News this morning: "The right thing is that we open schools, we've opened them well with a really comprehensive testing programme.
"But we want them to stay open and the way you do that is by protecting the most vulnerable which is why my focus is on the booster programme.
"I don't want to adjust the half term or go back to any form of lockdowns.
"That's the worst thing we can do to the economy and people's livelihoods."
Echoing this statement to The Sun, he added: "I don't want to adjust the half-term or go back to any form of lockdowns, because that's the worst thing we can do to the economy.
"I am absolutely focused on making sure we don't have to focus all the great gains we've made on reopening the economy."
But Zahawi admitted there is an 'upward pressure on infections' as we have reopened the economy to 'pretty much as close to normal as you can get'.
He said rolling out the booster jab programme to the most vulnerable is his 'absolutely priority', adding: "If we do that well we can continue on this one way road towards sustaining the opening of the economy, and by next year hopefully transitioning this virus from pandemic to endemic and dealing with it on an annual basis."
When asked about the possibility of schools closing, Zahawi added: "We want to make sure they stay open and the way you do that is by protecting the most vulnerable."
The Department of Health and Social Care said in a statement to LADbible: "It is not true that the Government is planning a lockdown or firebreak around the October half term.
"As set out in July, the Government retains contingency plans as part of responsible planning for a range of scenarios, but such measures would only be re-introduced as a last resort to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS."
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