London Lockdown Is Possible Under U.K.’s Virus Containment Plans

London Lockdown Is Possible Under U.K.’s Virus Containment Plans

  • Johnson juggles goals of quelling virus, stimulating economy
  •  Program to encourage people to dine out started on Monday

The U.K.’s plans to block further spikes in coronavirus allow for ministers to lock down London, Boris Johnson’s spokesman said, as officials prepare for a resurgence of Covid-19 in the months ahead.

The so-called Contain Strategy, unveiled last month, “does set out the possibility of a power to restrict people’s movement and potentially close down local transport networks,” Prime Minister’s Spokesman James Slack told reporters on Monday when asked whether the government had war-gamed sealing off the capital.

His remarks followed a report in the Sunday Times newspaper that ministers could curb travel in and out of the M25 highway encircling London and ban overnight stays in the city if there’s a surge in cases.

With cases of coronavirus ticking upwards again, Johnson is caught between the competing goals of suppressing the spread of the disease and re-opening the economy by getting people back to work. Last week ministers told more than 4 million people in Northern England they should no longer socialize in each other’s homes and postponed the reopening of leisure businesses including casinos, bowling alleys and ice rinks.

The strategy says ministers can use public health laws passed in 1984 to close businesses and venues, impose restrictions on the movement of people, prevent overnight stays away from home, limit the size of gatherings, and shut down local and national transport systems.