Coronavirus LIVE: Britain faces threat of CHRISTMAS LOCKDOWN as winter second wave looms

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Coronavirus LIVE: Britain faces threat of CHRISTMAS LOCKDOWN as winter second wave looms

The UK has the highest death toll across Europe after surpassing more than 40,000 and concerns about a second spike in the deadly virus have alread

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The UK has the highest death toll across Europe after surpassing more than 40,000 and concerns about a second spike in the deadly virus have already be raised. Now scientific experts have warned the UK is heading for a difficult winter.

One senior official warned: “We can get away with a lot at the moment because it is summer.

“It is really important that people get ready for the challenges that winter will undoubtedly bring.”

With the annual pressures on the NHS caused by seasonal flu, scientific experts are expecting a harsh winter as they claim the virus flourishes at temperatures of around 4C.

Another senior official said if numbers continue to increase, it is likely there will be another national lockdown.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) revealed the reproduction rate, the average number of people each COVID-19 patient infects – in England is between 0.8 and 1.

According to the Office of National Statistics, around 14,000 people in England currently have the virus.

Now with the threat of a national lockdown in winter, scientists are hoping to push the number of new infections much lower before winter to help cope during a second wave.

Professor James Naismith, from the University of Oxford, said: “These numbers also tell us that we are unlikely to eliminate the virus from the UK before the winter.

“In any event, the virus has become global.

“Without a vaccine, we have to plan for its presence.”

Melbourne, Australia, where it is currently winter, was forced into a second lockdown this week as cases of the virus increased.

Research has claimed vitamin D, obtained through sunlight, plays an important role in the immune system and helps fight off infections.

Leyla Mehmet, from the Really Health Company, told Express.co.uk: “Vitamin D is a potent protector specifically of respiratory immunity.

“Sunshine equals higher levels of Vitamin D, a strong protector of the respiratory system (in every respiratory illness or disease including asthma and COPD) –an essential hormone that is higher where bare skin is exposed to the sun and lower when it is not (such as winter).

“Rain means clouds and clothes, meaning that cold weather restricts our ability to go out there and generate vitamin D.”

The UK coronavirus death toll increased by 48, the latest official figures released yesterday revealed.

This brought the death toll across all settings to 44,650, the Department of Health said.

This includes hospitals, care homes and the community.

No new fatalities were reported by public health officials in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as Britain’s hospital toll climbed to 33,597.

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