UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will only impose another nationwide coronavirus lockdown as a last resort , comparing the tool to “a nuclear deterrent ” in a Sunday newspaper interview.
Johnson , who is hoping Britain can return to “ normality ” by Christmas despite fears of a second wave of cases over winter , insisted the country was getting better at tackling the virus.
The UK has been among the worst – hit countries in the world by COVID – 19, registering the highest death toll in Europe .
Meanwhile , its economy has been battered by a months -long lockdown that has only been gradually eased over recent weeks — and which Johnson is desperate to repair by avoiding another national shutdown.
“ I can ’ t abandon that tool any more than I would abandon a nuclear deterrent , ” he told the Daily Telegraph in a wide -ranging interview to mark the end of his first year in Downing Street.
“ But it is like a nuclear deterrent , I certainly don’ t want to use it . And nor do I think we will be in that position again . ”
Johnson insisted health authorities were “ getting much better at spotting the disease and isolating it locally ” while also learning more about who it affects most and how it is spread .
The British premier on Friday sketched out a timetable for easing the remaining lockdown measures in England , including lifting homeworking guidance and reopening sports stadiums and live theatre .
Current government advice is for employees to work from home where they can , but under the new proposals employers will have “ more discretion” to urge staff to return .
Despite Johnson ’ s optimism and desire for a return to normal , his chief medical officer , Chris Whitty , said on Friday that social distancing needed to continue “ for a long period of time ”.
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The government ’ s chief scientific advisor , Patrick Vallance , agreed, judging the risk of a second wave of infection to be “ high ”.
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