Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance today addressed the nation on the current spike in coronavirus cases, and the data on projected cases made for shocking reading. One graph showed Britain could be facing 50,000 new Covid-19 cases a day by mid-October. This could lead to 200 deaths a day a month later if the current rate of infection is not halted, the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has warned.
Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick today gave an update on the latest coronavirus data, and warned the UK is at a crucial stage in regards to the pandemic.
Sir Patrick said cases were increasing by 6,000 per day, and deaths and hospitalizations are also climbing.
In a presentation of the latest coronavirus data, the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick said: “The way that we reduce the spread is by limiting our number of contacts, by reducing contact in environments where spread is more likely – those are crowded environments, indoor environments, poor ventilation – and making sure that we reduce the probability of coming into contact with anyone who is infectious.
“And that’s the importance of self-isolation, keeping out of circulation if you have, or may have, the virus.”
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Is lockdown coming back?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been desperate to avoid another nationwide lockdown amid concerns about the economic damage it will inflict just as activity was beginning to pick up again.
However, as of Tuesday, approximately 13.5 million people across the UK will under some form of local restrictions.
This includes curfews of 10pm for pubs and restaurants, as the Government tries to get a grasp on the virus.
One of the measures being discussed by ministers is a temporary two-week “circuit break”, with tighter restrictions across England in an attempt to break the chain of transmission.
These restrictions will be introduced across parts of the North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire.
This includes Lancashire (excluding Blackpool), Merseyside and the Cheshire boroughs of Warrington and Halton.
New restrictions are also being put in place in Wolverhampton, Oadby and Wigston in Leicestershire, and all parts of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale.
Today Professor Whitty hinted at curbs to social lives being needed to prevent coronavirus spiralling out of control.
He said: “You cannot in an epidemic just take your own risk, unfortunately you’re taking a risk on behalf of everybody else.
“It’s important that we see this as something we have to do collectively.”
He said the four things to do are reducing individual risk by washing hands and using masks, quarantine measures, and investing in vaccines and drugs.
Professor Whitty said: “The third one, and in many ways the most difficult, is that we have to break unnecessary links between households because that is the way in which this virus is transmitted.
“And this means reducing social contacts whether they are at work, and this is where we have enormous gratitude to all the businesses for example who have worked so hard to make their environments Covid-secure to reduce the risk, and also in social environments.
“We all know we cannot do this without some significant downsides.
“This is a balance of risk between if we don’t do enough the virus will take off – and at the moment that is the path we’re clearly on – and if we do not change course we are going to find ourselves in a very difficult problem.”