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Boris Johnson did not rule out another full lockdown this winter, saying he could see nothing to indicate it was “on the cards”.
The prime minister was wearing a face mask when he made the comments on a visit to a vaccine centre in London on Friday.
Asked to rule out a full lockdown with “stay at home” advice and shops closing, he replied: “I’ve got to tell you at the moment that we see absolutely nothing to indicate that that is on the cards at all.”
It comes as scientists advising the government are calling on them to reintroduce stricter covid measures now.
Daily cases are now over 50,000, but the health secretary Sajid Javid has said they could double in the coming months. Meanwhile, hospital admissions and deaths across the UK are rising slowly.
However, ministers in England have so far resisted pressure to re-introduce controls, such as compulsory mask-wearing.