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Boris Johnson has refused to rule out a second national lockdown if the UK's R-number cannot be reduced by a raft of newly-announced measures aimed at curbing the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The Prime Minister told the Commons on Tuesday that the Government will introduce new restrictions in England "carefully judged to achieve the maximum reduction in the R number with the minimum damage to lives and livelihoods".
He warned that the current restrictions, including those he has just announced, will probably have to continue for six months.
The Prime Minister said: "This is the moment when we must act."
Speaking to MPs, he added: "I want to stress that this is by no means a return to the full lockdown of March. We're not issuing a general instruction to stay at home.
"We will ensure that schools, colleges, universities stay open because nothing is more important than the education, health and well-being of our young people.
"We will ensure businesses can stay open in a Covid-compliant way. However we must take action to suppress the disease."
The Prime Minister then outlined new measures, including asking people to work from home wherever possible, earlier closing times for pubs and increased fines for anyone who does not wear a face mask.
He added: "I must emphasise, that if all our actions fail to bring the R below 1, then we reserve the right to deploy greater firepower with significantly greater restrictions.
"I firmly want to avoid taking this step as do the devolved administrations but we will only be able to avoid it if our new measures work and our behaviour changes."
During the Parliamentary debate, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told the Prime Minister a second coronavirus lockdown would be a "government failure – not an act of god".
- Boris Johnson
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