UK cities could face a ban on travel if coronavirus cases spike

By Claire Schofield
Tuesday, 4th August 2020, 1:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th August 2020, 1:54 pm
Travel in and out of cities around the country could be banned to contain the virus (Photo: Shutterstock)
Travel in and out of cities around the country could be banned to contain the virus (Photo: Shutterstock)

Cities across the UK could be faced with a travel ban if a spike in coronavirus cases is recorded in the area, Downing Street has confirmed.

Travel in and out of cities around the country could be banned as part of the UK government’s recently released ‘contain’ strategy, which considers restricting movement in certain areas to help prevent further spread of the virus.

‘Closing down local transport’

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    According to The Sun, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister confirmed on 4 August that London and other major cities could face being locked down in the event of a surge in coronavirus cases. This could mean closing down local transport networks to restrict travel into and out of the city, helping to contain infections in a localised area.

    The spokesperson said, “If you look at the contain strategy [...] it sets out within there the possibility of putting in place restrictions on travel if there is an area particularly badly affected.

    "One of the steps within that is closing down local transport networks. We have informed the public and politicians of that being a potential action we could take.

    "But it's not something specific to London. It would be because there has been a specific outbreak in a town, city or more localised areas."

    How could rules be enforced?

    The government has not yet confirmed how such rules would be enforced if they were to be implemented, but the army has been on standby to assist with the ongoing crisis.

    If rules were to be applied to London, residents in the capital could be restricted from travelling outside of the M25. Road blocks could also be implemented to prevent people from moving outside of restricted areas, although this could present difficulties for those who work further afield, or who need to travel for food and essentials.

    It has also not been confirmed whether key NHS workers would be allowed to cross the boundary to travel to work.

    When lockdown was imposed in March, key workers were allowed to leave home to attend work, so similar rules may be applied again.

    The government documents state, "Existing powers under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 allow ministers to implement more substantial restrictions, such as restricting local or national transport systems – closing them entirely, or introducing capacity limits or geographical restrictions.

    "Regulations would be produced – and approved by Parliament – on a case-by-case basis."