The prime minister warns a second wave is ‘inevitable’ Huge swathes of the North West, West Yorkshire, the Midlands, and the North East have been placed under further localised coronavirus restrictions.
Boris Johnson (PM) said he does not want to put the country in another national lockdown but warned the government may need to “intensify things to help bring the rate of infections down”.
“We’re now seeing a second wave coming in… clearly we are going to keep everything under review,” he said.
He said he did “not want to get to a second national lockdown at all” but as the disease progresses, “of course we’re going to have to take further measures”.
It is understood a new three-tiered set of restrictions is being considered.
The plan would aim to avoid a national lockdown but could stop household-to-household contact.
The first tier would be the level of measures currently in place in most parts of England now – with social distancing the key aspect.
The second tier would involve what is currently being imposed in north-east of England - curfews on hospitality venues and a ban on meetings between households.
The final third tier would involve stricter lockdown measures.
If this plan is put into action, “Tier two” restrictions are expected to be imposed on a region-by-region basis, but it is thought likely that they could eventually cover almost all of the UK.
Boris Johnson has said the long-feared second wave of the pandemic has arrived in the UK, with new cases of coronavirus in England estimated to have doubled over the past week.
Meanwhile, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has insisted there should be no delays, saying: “I am of the firm view that we should not wait, as happened six months ago, for this virus to again spiral out of control before taking action.”
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London wants new restrictions as soon as possible
He said the capital is “increasingly likely” to be subject to further lockdown restrictions.
“The best thing for both public health and the economy is new restrictions imposed early, rather than a full lockdown when it’s too late – but the government must urgently ensure there is a fully functioning testing system,” he said.
“I strongly urge all Londoners to be as cautious as possible over this weekend. Please think very carefully about your actions – strictly follow social distancing rules, regularly wash your hands and wear a face covering to help reduce the spread of the virus.”
With the virus expected to be more severe over the winter, officials are looking at bringing in measures that could last until the spring.
Case trajectories, with UK, France, and Spain
It comes as the UK has recorded another 4,322 confirmed Covid-19 cases – the highest since 8 May – and another 27 deaths were recorded. The R number, which shows the spread of the virus, is now between 1.1 and 1.4.
Public Health England’s medical director Yvonne Doyle warned of “far worse things to come” as the UK recorded widespread growth of the virus across the country.
“Clearly when you look at what is happening, you’ve got to wonder whether we need to go further than the rule of six that we brought in,” the prime minister said, referring to measures introduced on Monday.
He added that “the British people have done an amazing job – they’ve brought that peak down by discipline” but that “people find it difficult to keep this up, it’s difficult to maintain that discipline for a long time”.
The restrictions could be put in place for two weeks, but the timing and duration of the measures has yet to be finalised. There has been speculation of such a lockdown taking place around the time of school half-term in October.
The rate of cases per 100,000 across Spain, France, and the UK
Mr Johnson’s message to parents and teachers was: “We want to keep the schools open… as far as we possibly can.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, and the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales have called on the prime minister to hold a COBRA meeting.
Sir Keir said: “He now needs to take swift and decisive action at a national level to deal with this – he can’t afford to be slow. If the prime minister was to take action, the Labour party will support it and do what we can.”
Fears are growing that daily coronavirus case numbers could, in a few weeks, hit the figures seen in March and April if the government does not take decisive action now and “hammer down” on the disease.
Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, warned the prime minister at a meeting on Wednesday evening that the disease was now doubling every seven to eight days.
It is understood they warned the UK is now about six weeks behind France and Spain and in danger of seeing a substantial increase in the number of cases by mid-October if the virus is left unchecked.Share with friends
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