British PM Johnson dismisses criticism on local lockdowns, coronavirus app

LONDON, June 24 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson dismissed criticism on Wednesday of his government’s plans to implement local lockdowns if there are flare ups of the novel coronavirus and of an app to trace the spread of the virus.

At prime minister’s questions, the opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer suggested both systems were not yet ready before England eases its coronavirus lockdown from July 4.

In response, Johnson said: “We have a very effective cluster-busting operation which is designed to ensure that we keep those outbreaks under control.”

“I am not going to pretend ... that this thing is beaten or that the virus has gone away ... We have to remain vigilant and local councils will be supported in doing their vital work in implementing local lockdowns,” he added, challenging Starmer to find any other country that has a functioning tracing app. (Reporting by Sarah Young and Guy Faulconbridge, writing by Elizabeth Piper)