AN October “firebreak” lockdown is being planned for England if Covid hospitalisations remain high, according to reports.

A member of the UK Government’s Sage told The i newspaper that a full lockdown is not likely, but plans are being drawn up for a range of potential measures.

The scientist warned the UK could soon enter an “extended peak” of coronavirus infections and hospitalisations which could push ministers towards bringing in restrictions during England’s half-term next month.

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Across the UK, hospitalisations have averaged about 900 a day for the past two weeks.

The source described any restrictions as a “precautionary break” – an idea pushed by Sage last year as cases grew into the autumn.

“It would be sensible to have contingency plans, and if a lockdown is required, to time it so that it has minimal economic and societal impact,” they explained.

“Acting early” would prevent deaths growing to the same level seen during last winter’s peak, they told the newspaper.

Plans could include England’s half-term break being extended from one week to two, the scientist said.

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Meanwhile another UK Government source said ministers will need to “seriously consider” introducing another lockdown if hospital admissions remain at their current level.

“While deaths are high compared to last year and are unlikely to hit the levels as seen last autumn because the vaccines are doing their job, it is the admissions that will push the NHS to the brink of collapse if they do not fall soon,” they said.

In response, a Government spokesperson said a lockdown or firebreak restrictions were not being planned for October but added “contingency plans” are retained for a “range of scenarios”.

“Such measures would only be reintroduced as a last resort to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS,” they added.

This morning UK Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said he has seen no plans for an October “firebreak” lockdown if cases rise this autumn.

Asked on BBC Breakfast whether the Government is looking at a possible lockdown in October, the minister said: “No, I haven’t seen any … I know where this question comes from.

“The i newspaper was reporting that they think there could be a possible lockdown.

“Look, vaccines have given us the ability to reduce infections, to save 100,000 lives.

“It is through the booster programme that I hope … we can transition the virus from pandemic to endemic status and deal with it year in, year out – it is going to be with us for many years – but not have to close down our economy or take the severe measures we had to sadly take in December of last year.”