BRITS could face lockdowns until next spring – as a local council hires £30,000-a-year Covid marshals to work until March 2022.
Boris Johnson reassured the public he’ll move to stage four of the roadmap in July during a speech from Downing Street last night.
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But it’s emerged that Croydon Council are looking to hire more of the marshals – with their fixed-term contracts not coming to an end for nine more months.
And while there may be another explanation for the hires, concerns are rising it’s a sign of things to come.
It comes as:
- UK Covid cases rise by 26 per cent in a week
- Piers Morgan slams an ‘ignorant’ anti-lockdown mob after the BBC’s Nick Watt hounded by protesters in Westminster
- More than 30m Brits are now double jabbed – as all over-18s to get their vaccine invite this week
- Waiting to lift lockdown could prove deadlier as we face a ‘super wave’ of Covid and flu, Sage warns
- Tory MPs warn ‘freedom day’ will be delayed again and say they don’t believe PM’s assurances it will go ahead on July 19
Political website Guido Fawkes reports: “Marshals will be paid over £30,000 to enforce restrictions that supposedly would have been lifted over eight months earlier.
“According to the job-listing which was posted seven days ago, Covid marshals will advise people and businesses on how to follow Covid-19 regulations and “stay safe”.
“Guido wonders what restrictions Covid marshals will possibly be enforcing until next spring…”
Croydon Council has been contacted for comment on how the marshals will be deployed.
It comes just days after concerns restrictions will be in place for many months to come were revealed.
Government advisers have warned it could be become too late to lift the remaining restrictions in September as we head into autumn and winter, The Telegraph reports.
A senior minister claimed further postponements could lead to a full reopening in the spring, when transmission occurs less easily and winter strains on the NHS have eased.
They said: “I am very worried the people who want to keep us shut down now want us to keep us shut down permanently and are aiming for ‘zero Covid’.
“Once you start delaying to the spring you’re making this type of control of people’s lives semi-permanent.”
Meanwhile, angry backbenchers say they don’t believe the PM’s claims that the UK will be free in July.
Top Tory MP Mark Harper, chair of the Covid Recovery Group, insisted: “We could have moved ahead perfectly safely on June 21.”
He fumed: “It seems to me we don’t know anything today that we didn’t know when the PM was telling us he was happy to move ahead on June 21.
“We’ve heard ministers say they’re ‘pretty confident’ about lifting restrictions before and then do the opposite.
“Don’t blame the public if many weary people simply don’t believe such assurances anymore.
“So some of us, I’m afraid, are a bit worried that we’re not going to actually move forward on July 19.”
It emerged last night at the PM made the decision to delay ‘freedom day’ after stark warnings from scientists that the UK could suffer 50,000 deaths in a horror summer Covid wave.
Mr Johnson was warned 2,500 people may be hospitalised every day if unlocking continued as planned, new documents from Sage reveal.
He told ministers stage four of his roadmap to freedom must be held back after he was presented with a paper on a potential worst-case scenario for the coming weeks.
The document revealed that a summer wave of infections, hospitalisations and deaths is “likely” – whether or not restrictions are lifted.
Surging cases in the UK are being driven by the mutant Indian – or Delta – variant, which has become the country’s dominant strain in a matter of weeks.
And scientists have warned the potential peak death rate could be reduced from 700 to 500 a day if the final stage in unlocking is delayed.
However, the paper is just one projection – and may never be realised.
For example, Sage predicted a range of scenarios this summer, including that by June 14, anywhere between 38,061 and 2,050 people would be in hospital.
The true number on that date was 993.
Last night, the PM said he’s “confident” the UK can end lockdown altogether by July 19, and possibly earlier if cases drop.