Keir Starmer has said a second national lockdown is not inevitable but “more likely” because the government has “lost control” of testing.
The Labour leader told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge that Boris Johnson should apologise for the lack of testing, which means ministers “do not know where the virus is”.
He said Labour would back a second national lockdown and supported the government’s new proposal to impose £10,000 fines for a failure to self-isolate.
Starmer said: “There are a few people that are breaking the rules and something has to be done about that, but I have to say that I think that isn’t going to be a silver bullet that will deal with the problem we’re in.
“We have rising infection rates. I think the whole country is concerned about that.
“We have a testing service just when we need it be effective is barely serviceable and it is a major problem.”
He added that Britain was not “a nation that wants to go around reporting our neighbours all the time” but added that “if someone was repeatedly flouting the rules” then “something had to be done”.
“I don’t think a second national lockdown is inevitable but I think it is more likely because testing is all over the place,” he said.
He added families have been unable to get tests or have results returned within 24 hours.
He said: “The testing regime is all over the place [...] because the government’s not effectively lost control of testing, it doesn’t necessarily know where the virus is.
“If I was the prime minister, I would apologise for the fact that testing is all over the place and, instead of using the summer to prepare for the autumn, which is what we said should happen we’re in this position.
“Just when we need testing to be at its very best, it’s near collapse.”
Starmer has also called for the return of the daily Covid-19 briefings and has asked the PM to convene Cobra, after the “R” rate of the virus rose to between 1.1 and 1.4 on Friday.