Fears of a second lockdown to fight the invisible killer disease are rising after the Office for National Statistics revealed theere had been around 3,200 new COVID19 infections per day in England. The figures showed that any given time between 30 August and 5 September, around 1 in 1,400 people would test positive for COVID19, an average of 39,700 people, in England.
It comes as Boris Johnson faces an open revolt from some Tory backbenchers over “absolutely grotesque” new lockdown restrictions that limits social gatherings to six people.
One former minister declared: “It is time for us to actually start living like a free people, not subjecting ourselves to constantly shifting legal requirements.”
It comes amid reports that ministers are divided over new social distancing rules in England which will limit social gatherings to groups of six people both indoors and outside from Monday.
The Daily Telegraph reported on Friday that senior Tories also want younger children to be exempt from the so-called “rule of six” in England, while the Daily Mail claimed Health Secretary Matt Hancock was the only Cabinet minister on Boris Johnson’s coronavirus strategy committee to support the plan at a meeting on Tuesday, the day before it was announced by the Prime Minister.
Speaking on Friday, Tory former minister Steve Baker told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think it is now time to say that this is not a fit legal environment for the British people.
“It’s time to move to a voluntary system – unless the Government can demonstrate otherwise.
“And it is time for us to actually start living like a free people, not subjecting ourselves to constantly shifting legal requirements, which I think now no-one can fully understand.
“It seems to me the effect of having Covid marshals will be to turn every public space in Britain into the equivalent of going through airport security where we are badgered and directed… I’m not willing to live like this.”
Conservative MP Sir Desmond Swayne said the ban was “absolutely grotesque”.