Experts have indicated a return to a complete March-style lockdown might not be enough to monitor the spread of the latest coronavirus strain in England. Minutes from the government advisory group's meeting a few months ago exhibits concerns that even with complete lockdown and closure of all schools, the R rate may not fall and stay below one. In comments published on Thursday, the experts concluded: "It is not known whether measures with similar stringency and adherence to spring, with both primary and secondary schools closed, in the presence of the new variant, would be sufficient to put R below one."
It comes only one day after Matt Hancock announced a major Tier 4 expansion, which now covers some 75 percent of the population of England. With 981 fatalities reported in the latest single-day estimates, deaths and infections are soaring. In England, Sage also said the R rate was "highly unlikely" to remain below one if schools stayed open as they did in November. Gavin Williamson revealed recently that all English secondary schools would remain closed until mid-January for most pupils, a week later than expected. They will close permanently in infection-hotspots, such as parts of London, although some primaries will do the same.