Boris Johnson could ban domestic travel, tell millions to stay at home, and quarantine all holiday-makers as UK coronavirus cases continue to rise

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People sit at a cafe in the Covent Garden shopping and dining district, next to a sign about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London, Britain, August 2, 2020.

Boris Johnson could ask millions of ‘at-risk’ people in England to stay at home as coronavirus cases surge.
The prime minister is reportedly considering a ban people from travelling across the country, and ask holiday-makers returning to the UK to quarantine for 14 days.
The government is trying to identify options to avoid a second coronavirus wave which does not involve reimposing a nationwide lockdown, which Johnson last week called a ‘nuclear deterrent.’

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Boris Johnson could ask millions of people in England to stay at home, ban people from travelling across the country, and quarantine holiday-makers under measures being considered to contain a potential new wave of coronavirus infections.

The UK government is trying to identify options to avoid a second coronavirus wave which does not involve reimposing a nationwide lockdown, which the prime minister last week called a “nuclear deterrent” he wanted to avoid using.

It comes after the number of coronavirus cases in the UK started to rise quickly again last week, forcing the government to impose restrictions on around 4.5 million people in certain parts of northern England, and pause the nationwide easing of other lockdown measures.

Downing Street is instead considering a series of “flexible” lockdown options, which could either be rolled out in certain areas where infections were spiking or — if cases begin to rise too quickly across England — rolled out nationwide, the Times of London newspaper reported.

Those potential measures include a “risk register” which would see those people considered most at risk of serious illness from Covid-19 asked to “shield” by remaining at home as the rest of the population goes to work, shop, and eats in restaurants.

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The register would be likely to include older people, people who have previously suffered from serious diseases including cancer, and people who are obese. The government drew up an original shielding register when it first introduced lockdown restrictions in March but a new one would be based on more accurate information about those who are at most risk from the disease.

Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, told Times Radio on Saturday that the government was not “actively” considering introducing an expanded risk register but said people should expect the government “to be considering all of the range of options that might be available.”

The government could also ban people from entering and leaving areas which have been placed in lockdown, with measures enforced by the police, the Times of London reported.

In the case that coronavirus cases surged in other countries, Johnson would also scrap the “travel corridors” currently in place with several other countries, and instead force holiday-makers from any country to quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in the UK, the report said.

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