What is a fire-break lockdown?

THE government has drawn up plans for winter 'firebreak' lockdowns, it's reported.

But what exactly is a fire-break lockdown? Here's all you need to know…

What is a fire-break lockdown?

A fire-break lockdown is essentially the same as a circuit breaker measure.

Both terms describe a short, sharp mini nationwide lockdown for a period of about two weeks.

Aimed at helping to regain control of Covid, the action is used to save lives and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed.

When could the UK see another fire-break lockdown?

If the NHS risks being "tipped to the brink" restrictions during school holidays could be reintroduced, the i reports.

No. 10 is confident the vaccine rollout will stem Covid hospitalisations, but a surge in flu cases or staff shortages could put the health service under strain, it's claimed.

Downing Street confirmed it has plans in place to reimpose "local, regional or national" Covid restrictions if necessary.

A government advisor told the i: "The Government believes it has got to grips with the pandemic following the vaccine rollout.

“Barring a new vaccine-beating strain, fears over a rise in infections similar to that seen last autumn are actually outweighed by other issues like an NHS staffing crisis and the likely resurgence in flu infections, and other respiratory diseases.

"On top of Covid infections these factors could tip the NHS back to the brink and force more lockdowns.” 

But the source told the i that the government is determined to avoid long lockdowns that have been in place since March, 2020. 

They said: "The plan is for them to be short, and preferably during the school holidays in late October and over Christmas.

"Firebreaks rather than lasting for months at a time.” 

When was the Welsh fire-break lockdown?

Wales was plunged into a full national lockdown from 6pm Friday, October 23, last year.

Restrictive measures were in place until the start of Monday, November 9, 2020.

All non-essential retail, leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses closed for two weeks.

It meant people in Wales had to:

  • Follow strict stay-at-home orders
  • Pubs, restaurants and all non-essential retail were closed
  • No meeting with anyone outside your household
  • No alcohol sales after 10pm
  • Leisure centres and services, including gyms, had to close
  • Professional sports was able to continue
  • Hairdressers and beauty services had to close
  • No gatherings were allowed outdoors including Halloween and fireworks on Bonfire night

Where else has used a fire-breaker lockdown?

Wales was the second nation in the UK to lock down large swathes of its economy to combat rising coronavirus infections.

At the time, England opted to go with a tiered system instead.

Schools in Northern Ireland also shut after a four-week circuit break closure began on Monday October 19 last year.

Northern Ireland also banned most social gatherings and shut down many businesses including bars and restaurants for a month.

Elsewhere, circuit-breaker style measures have also been imposed in New Zealand, parts of Australia and Israel – but all were extended to last significantly longer than originally intended.

Singapore was placed into a quick lockdown of a month, which was then extended to two months.

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