Coronavirus is still ‘circling like a shark in the water’, warns Boris Johnson – amid second wave fears

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BORIS Johnson has warned that coronavirus is “still circling like a shark in the water” – amid fears of a second wave in cases.

The Prime Minister said he wanted to “get back to life as normal… as fast as possible” but cautioned that the threat of Covid-19 hasn’t gone away.

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He referred to the outbreak of cases in Leicester, which has prompted the UK’s first localised lockdown today.

Speaking today in Dudley, he said: “As we approach July 4, I must say that the dangers as we can see in Leicester have not gone away.

“The virus is out there, still circling like a shark in the water and it will take all our collective discipline and resolve to keep that virus at bay.”

In a rousing speech, in which he set out a spending spree to help the economy cope with the “aftershock” of the coronavirus crisis, he also warned that he would not hesitate to take “draconian steps” to “put on the brakes” where there were flare-ups of coronavirus.

It comes as tougher measures will be introduced in Leicester following a localised surge in Covid cases.

To stop the spread, non-essential shops will close from today while schools will shut to most pupils from Thursday.

The planned opening of restaurants, pubs, cafes, hairdressers and cinemas across England from Saturday will also not happen in Leicester.

The relaxation of shielding measures from next week is also unable to go ahead for people in the city.

 

 

Leicester had seen 10 per cent of all positive cases in England over the past week, while its seven-day infection rate was 135 cases per 100,000 – three times that of the next highest city.

Earlier said targeted interventions to slow the spread of Covid over the last 11 days failed to work, according to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Mr Johnson added: “On Leicester, let me just say that, obviously, we will be in constant communication with the authorities in Leicester, but, also, monitoring it nationally.

“And, insuring that as and when the data changes, and the situation improves, then we will take steps to ease the measures that we have had to enforce.”

Defending the NHS Test and Trace system, the PM said: “We are testing now almost double per head what most other European countries are doing.

“We have got a testing capacity of 280,000 a day and testing is a huge part of that whack-a-mole strategy and will continue to be intensified.”

The Government is now “determined to use this crisis finally to tackle this country’s great unresolved challenges of the last three decades”, Mr Johnson pledged.

To unite and level up, and to that end we will build, build, build

He said: “To build the homes, to fix the NHS, to solve social care, to tackle the skills crisis, to mend the indefensible gap in opportunity and productivity and connectivity between the regions of the UK.

“To unite and level up, and to that end we will build, build, build.

“Build back better, build back greener, build back faster. And to do that at the pace that this moment requires, we need now to distil the very best of the psychic energy of the last few months.

“Let’s take the zap and elan of the armed services who helped to build the Nightingales.

“Let’s take the selflessness and the love of the health and the care workers and the charities.

“The public spirit and the good humour of the entire population. And let’s brew them together with the superhuman energy of Captain Tom – bounding around his garden at the age of 100 and raising millions for charity.

“Let’s take that combination, that spirit: bottle it, swig it.

“And I believe we will have found if not quite a magic potion, at least the right formula to get us through these dark times.”

While Boris declared that he wanted to see the country forge ahead, it was warned that other cities could face local lockdowns if the bug continued to spike in areas.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the government had seen “flare-ups” in the last three or four weeks.

She said: “Because with local flare-ups it is right we have a localised solution in terms of infection control, social distancing, testing and many of the tools actually within the Public Health England space that will come together to control the virus and to stop the spread so we can get on top of the infection.”

It comes as the economy is preparing to return to some semblance of normality.

On Saturday, pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen for the first time since March 23.

The two-metre social distancing rule has also been slashed to one-metre plus, which means introducing mitigation measures such as wearing a face mask, washing hands and sitting back to back when with people from outside your household.

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