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UK tightens lockdown measures

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UNITED Kingdom is currently under a third national lockdown in an attempt to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed by coronavirus cases.

  But there has been speculation that ministers could be considering tightening restrictions, amid concerns the “stay-at-home” message isn’t being followed by enough people.

  At Monday evening’s Downing Street briefing, Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged people to follow the existing rules and added, “we won’t rule out taking further action if it’s needed”. Other ministers have struck a similar tone.

  Nurseries were closed to all but vulnerable children and those whose parents were key workers. But so far this lockdown, early-years provision has remained open in England.

Scotland and Northern Ireland have chosen to keep nurseries closed to most children for now. 

England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, said keeping them open “would allow people who need to go to work or need to do particular activities, to do so”.

 But 10 percent of coronavirus outbreaks or clusters in educational settings since September have been in early-years provision. England’s three main nursery organisations have called on the government to provide clear scientific evidence on the risks to early-years staff now there is a more transmissible variant of COVID-19. Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, said he too would like to hear more from scientists about the risks – and nurseries should “probably” close.

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