Watch: Boris Johnson says second national lockdown would be 'completely wrong'
Boris Johnson speaks out against second lockdown: “I think it would be completely wrong for this country”
It comes despite reports government is prepared to reimpose all social distancing measures apart from school closures if infections keep rising
PM tells MPs “we are going to do everything in our power to prevent” lockdown
The prime minister, appearing before the House of Commons liaison committee on Wednesday, said reimposing lockdown restrictions would be “disastrous” for the country.
It comes despite reports the government has given itself two weeks for its “rule of six” coronavirus law – which bans most social gatherings of more than six people in England – to work.
If COVID-19 infections continue to rise by the end of September, ITV reported all social distancing measures apart from school closures will be considered.
Johnson, asked by Conservative MP Julian Knight if the UK can afford another lockdown, responded: “I don’t want a second national lockdown, I think it would be completely wrong for this country.
“We are going to do everything in our power to prevent it.
“Can we afford it? I very much doubt the financial consequences would be anything but disastrous.”
During the PM’s committee appearance, the government announced 3,991 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours: the highest daily infection rate since 8 May.
The PM added: “We have to make sure we defeat the disease by the means we have set out.
“So when I see people arguing against the ‘rule of six’ or saying the government is coming in too hard on individual liberties, I sympathise with that. But we must, must beat this disease.”
It comes as Johnson was also pressed over the government’s coronavirus testing difficulties – with the PM admitting “we don’t have enough testing capacity now”.
Problems have included huge queues for tests, people reporting they have been unable to get tests, and others being offered tests hundreds of miles from their homes.
Watch: How to remove a face covering correctly
And health secretary Matt Hancock admitted in the House of Commons on Tuesday that the issues will take “weeks” to solve as he introduced a priority system for tests.
Johnson told the committee: “What has happened is demand has massively accelerated just in the last couple of weeks.
“Many people are seeking to get a test in the hope that they can thereby be released to get on with their lives in the normal way.
“People who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive, for instance, they are seeking to get a test to ensure that they are OK to go to work.”
He urged people without symptoms to stay away from testing centres, while acknowledging the reasons why they may want to find out if they have COVID-19.
The liaison committee is the only Commons committee that can question a PM, providing a different type of scrutiny to Prime Minister’s Questions in the main chamber.
Johnson last appeared before the committee in May.