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Mr Dowden, who serves as the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said the lockdown was necessary in order to avoid putting excessive pressure on the NHS and risk it becoming overwhelmed. Presenter Fiona Bruce questioned whether the Government intended to extend the lockdown past the expiry date of December 2.
She asked: Are you expecting, as the Government, that the lockdown such as the one we have will end on December 2?
“Or are you actually thinking ‘we probably have to go back and ask to extend it’?”
Mr Dowden said: “We are expecting the lockdown will end on December 2.
“When the Cabinet discussed this, it was a very sombre discussion that we had on Saturday.
“The clear advice we had was two-fold: First of all, that if we didn’t take these measures the NHS risked being overwhelmed.
“And what that means for people watching and listening at home is that we’d be in a situation where people could turn up at NHS hospitals and be turned away from treatment even though they needed it, and we couldn’t allow that to happen.”
Ms Bruce then interrupted to point out that “as far as non-elective surgery goes, people are not getting that treatment now.”
Mr Dowden conceded that “we cannot have that happening on a national basis which is why we had to take these measures.”
He proceeded to explain that the lockdown rules could not roll over, but rather they expired and that the Government had to discuss the outcome of the measures in Parliament, adding that the Cabinet believed the measures were “sufficient”.
Mr Dowden’s remarks were subject to mixed opinions, with viewers debating on Twitter.
One Twitter user backed the lockdown as a way to contain the spread after “people disregarded the rules”.
He said: “We are here because people disregarded the rules.
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“Mixing too much, going in pubs and giving false details to avoid being tracked.
“We probably need a harder lockdown.”
Another Twitter user suggested a circuit-breaker lockdown should have happened sooner to stop figures from soaring.
She said: “Oliver Dowden we should have had a 2 week circuit break when Sage and Keir Starmer called for it – over half-term…”
“If we had had a #lockdown in October for 2 weeks we probably wouldn’t have needed another in November!”
A third person criticised the Government’s timing in regards to the track and trace system.
She said: “We are faced with another ‘lockdown’. We did the first one with gusto and a good heart but what did the government do?
“This should have given Government time to make some headway with track and trace!”
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