London, October 31: The United Kingdom is reportedly considering to impose a hard lockdown, beginning from next week in bid to curb the pace of COVID-19 transmission. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was reportedly warned by top scientists in the country that in absence of tough restrictions, a per-day death count of 4,000 could be recorded. Second Wave of COVID-19: From Germany to France, List of Countries Going Into Lockdown 2 After Fresh Surge in Coronavirus Cases.

Officials of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), in their report to the No 10 Downing Street, said the virus is spreading at a pace which is faster than what was witnessed in the first round of pandemic. If restrictions are not placed, 85,000 lives could be lost due to coronavirus in this winter, the panel warned.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is under fire from the right-wing groups for the prolonged restrictions placed throughout the summer that dampened the economic activities, had dismissed calls from the Opposition to dismiss "circuit breakers" across the nation.

By "circuit breakers", experts refer to the ban on inter-district or inter-province commutation placed in regions of high caseload in an attempt to break the chain of infections. Following the SAGE committee report, however, members of Johnson's Cabinet including Mat Hancock and Michael Gove are reportedly in favour of imposing the hard lockdown.

According to UK media reports, the lockdown which the government is planning from next week would be akin to the shutdown imposed in April-May. The difference, they said, would be that schools will be allowed to operate as per their routine schedule till the beginning of Christmas holidays. Essential service providers and shops selling essential commodities will be exempted.

The curbs would be eased before Christmas, said officials privy to the developments so far. The relaxation of restrictions would, however, depend upon the COVID-19 transmission rate prevailing after mid-December.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 31, 2020 04:27 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website