A well-placed Whitehall source has told the Sunday Express that the circuit break proposal being pushed by scientists on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) will in effect lead to a permanent lockdown. The senior source said that Downing Street is resisting a circuit break because “when you do it once you have to keep on doing it and there is no end.” The government also does not believe the country can afford another bail-out package similar to the £300 billion one in March or furlough thousands of jobs again.
According to the senior source, the measures to protect businesses and jobs during the initial lockdown mean that “the public finances are shot” and “some difficult decisions are going to have to be made” to get them back in shape.
The revelations come as the row between the government and Manchester mayor Andy Burnham over putting Britain’s third city into the highest tier 3 restrictions escalated yesterday.
It also emerged that the leftwing Labour Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has unilaterally decided to use Wales as a guinea pig for a circuit break by putting the Principality into full lockdown for three weeks.
A message sent out to public transport providers, has informed them that the circuit break will begin at 6pm on Friday October 23 and finish at one minute past midnight on Monday November 9.
It will take Wales back to the dark days of the national lockdown with all shops apart from essential ones being closed along with hairdressers, pubs, beauticians and restaurants.
Boris Johnson is urging people to avoid travelling (Image: Getty)
A decision will be made during the lockdown on whether to reopen Welsh schools on schedule on Monday November 2 after their two week half term break.
Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire Craig Williams described the move as “utter madness”.
He pointed out that west Wales including his constituency has “very low infection rates” and warned that a circuit break will be harmful for jobs and businesses.
He said: “In my seat we want to feed the nation, by which I mean the whole UK not just Wales, or host the nation, agriculture, hospitality and tourism are very important so this sort of move is very harmful and completely unnecessary.”
He accused Mr Drakeford of using “dangerous language” on closing the border to the English and said he had “not given local lockdowns enough time to see if they work.”
The senior Downing Street source pointed to what has happened in Bradford where a two week “circuit break” lockdown was imposed and the Yorkshire city is still in lockdown more than six weeks later with a higher infection rate.
A senior scientist has also backed up the Government concerns over circuit breaks.
Professor Mark Woolhouse, a government pandemic advisor said he reluctantly accepted the need for some new restrictions to stem the tide of coronavirus but insisted they needed to be proportionate and “evidence based.”
Speaking in a personal capacity, the University of Edinburgh Professor of infectious disease said: “Doing nothing is