The tough restrictions will hurt, but are needed – and the prime minister’s foot-dragging has only increased the cost

Here we are again. Once more, England will enter lockdown on Thursday, albeit somewhat less restrictive than the one in spring, with schools remaining open. Once more, the government has been far too slow to act. After so many errors by Boris Johnson, fresh ones are lamentable; making the same one is unforgivable.

Already, we have seen hundreds of deaths a day. The government’s Sage committee of experts has warned that Covid-19 could claim 85,000 lives this winter. On Saturday, the chief medical officer for England and the chief scientific adviser warned that without tighter restrictions the NHS could be overwhelmed within weeks. In the prime minister’s words: “Doctors and nurses would be forced to choose which patients to treat … Who would live and who would die.”

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