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UPDATE 2-More UK cities may face stricter lockdown - but at what cost?

Thu, 15th Oct 2020 08:09

* Britain to announce changes in local lockdown tiers

* London and Manchester may see more restrictions

* 'Period of destitution': concern grows over economic
hardships
(Recasts headline and lead)

LONDON, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Tighter COVID-19 lockdowns could
be imposed on London and northern England by Prime Minister
Boris Johnson's government on Thursday though anger over the
economic, health and social pain was growing.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock will address parliament at
around 1030 GMT: he is expected to announce changes to the
government's patchwork of three-tier local lockdowns.

London and Manchester are in focus as the outbreak spreads.

Asked on Sky news if Manchester and parts of Lancashire
county would be placed into tier three, the highest level of
local lockdown, junior business minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
"Matt Hancock is going to make a statement to parliament as to
where we are at but you can clearly see the numbers."

Zahawi said the government was also speaking to London Mayor
Sadiq Khan who has called for tougher lockdowns in the capital
where 11 boroughs are seeing more than 100 new cases a week per
100,000 people.

The worst hit areas of London are Richmond, Hackney, the
City of London, Ealing, Redbridge and Harrow. The British
capital, Europe's richest city, is currently at the "medium"
alert level so could be moved to "high".

In areas in the high alert level, socialising outside
households or support bubbles is not allowed indoors though work
can continue and schools continue to operate.

Manchester is currently at the "high" alert level so could
be moved to "very high" - a level which forbids socialising,
forces pubs and bars to close and prohibits travel outside the
area.

While the government says it must act to tackle the swiftly
accelerating second wave of the outbreak, there is growing
concern about the economic and health costs of the poverty that
such lockdowns are inflicting.

The United Kingdom faces a "period of destitution" in which
families "can't put shoes on" children, the government's former
homelessness adviser said.

"Are we actually asking people in places like Liverpool to
go out and prostitute themselves, so that they could put food on
the table?" Louise Casey told the BBC.

"There's this sense from Downing Street and from Westminster
that people will make do. Well, they weren't coping before
COVID," she said.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Sarah Young;
Editing by Paul Sandle and Andrew Cawthorne)

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