Coronavirus experts say a second national lockdown is now “inevitable” – as Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted changes to local measures were coming.

John Edmunds, a professor and member of SAGE, the body advising the government on controlling the pandemic, appeared on BBC’s Newsnight last night.

On Tuesday, he warned the localised measures – which he argued were “not working” – were merely “delaying the inevitable.”

“These local restrictions that have been put in place in much of the north of England really haven’t been very effective,” he said.

He added: “We need to take much more stringent measures, not just in the north of England, we need to do it countrywide, and bring the epidemic back under control.”

Edmunds appeared on the show on October 6 – with millions in the north living under enhanced measures.


It comes as Mr Hancock appeared in Parliament, where he told fellow MPs a simplified approach would be taken.

It comes amid reports a traffic light system – with red, amber and green levels of measures – would be created nationwide, in a bid to simplify the existing localised rules.

“I’ll update the House in due course on what action the Government is taking so we can have more consistent approaches to levels of local action, working with our colleagues in local government,” Mr Hancock said.


Official NHS advice for self-isolation if you have symptoms of coronavirus
“For now, it’s essential that people follow the guidance in their local area.”

In Birmingham, households remain banned from mixing indoors, as well as in Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Solihull.

In the north, swathes of Merseyside and Greater Manchester remain in lockdown – with Luton the only town in England to exit enhanced measures.

Mr Hancock added: “The proposals that we are working through and that I will bring to this House are to have a more simplified approach to the local action that we took. We have shared that approach with the devolved administrations.”