What is a circuit-breaker lockdown and what would the rules be?

BRITS could face a so-called circuit-breaker lockdown after Christmas 2021 in order to curb the spread of the Omicron variant.

Plans are being drawn up to bring in a lockdown lasting two weeks in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus virus, according to reports.

What is a circuit-breaker lockdown?

A circuit-breaker lockdown is also known as a fire-break lockdown and one was introduced in Wales on October 23, 2020.

It’s effectively a mini-lockdown, seen as a short, sharp measure, when relating to the coronavirus, rules and restrictions become much more severe.

The circuit-breaker lockdown is designed to give the Covid-19 virus fewer opportunities to spread while keeping people safe.

It gets its name from the breakers used in electric circuits which cut off supply to prevent large problems building up in the future.

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There is no set of rules that have to be introduced nor even how long it lasts but it is usually done for a two-week period.

When will a decision be made?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to hold an emergency Covid Cobra meeting this weekend as officials consider proposals for the circuit-breaker.

However, this is yet to be to be confirmed and there are no firm details.

It comes after the PM vowed he would not shut the country down amid claims plans have been drawn up for the lockdown after the festive period.

He told the nation: "We are not closing things down."

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What would the lockdown rules be?

As reports suggest discussions are still underway it is not clear what exactly the rules and restrictions would be.

Yet ministers are preparing draft plans that will prevent Brits meeting others indoors except for work purposes, The Times reports.

Pubs and restaurants would only be allowed to serve outdoors if the scheme is given the green light.

Other reports suggest Mr Johnson has been presented with a range of options for 'plan C', ranging from "mild guidance to nudge people, right through to lockdown".

Pessimistic Sage scientists have told the Government tougher measures will be needed "very soon".

But hospitality firms said any new restrictions would be a sledgehammer to the struggling industry at its busiest time of year.

Venues have already been forced to close their doors to the Christmas rush as workers fall ill and the super-strain grips cities.

Bosses said they have had "no option" but to close during a "double whammy" of sick staff and customers staying away over concerns their festive plans could be disrupted.

British Chambers of Commerce president Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith warned: "Businesses now face the two-punch combination of serious issues with staff absence and plummeting consumer confidence."

While restrictions may be brought in it’s thought schools and shops will remain open.

When would the lockdown start?

As the plans are thought to be still being drawn up there is no word yet as to when a circuit-breaker lockdown could be introduced.

Although it expected not to be brought in before Christmas with Johnson saying: "We are not closing things down."

However, imposing stronger restrictions and even a lockdown after Christmas Day, have not been ruled out.

Johnson has said a "considerable wave" of cases is sweeping in – but stood firm on tougher rules this side of Christmas.

“I’ve said already that people should be cautious, but what we have also said is that people should decide what they want to do. It is a matter for their personal choice," he said.

“We are not closing things down but we do think people need to be cautious.”

Johnson has refrained from telling people to stop enjoying their festivities, saying “we're not closing hospitality, we're not cancelling people's parties or their ability to mix”.

He said people should instead “be careful before they go” – meaning to take a lateral flow test at home.

However, he urged everyone to get their booster – and warned the mutation is "a very serious threat to us now".

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