British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under increasing pressure from his scientific advisers to impose a second nationwide lockdown by Christmas, after the UK recorded its highest daily COVID 19 death rate since May.
Official data on Tuesday showed 22,885 new cases and 367 deaths, with the total number of virus-related deaths in the UK now reaching 61,000, amid fears that the second wave could be more lethal than the first.
New projections from the government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) indicate that the death toll will peak at a lower level than in the first wave, but will remain high for weeks or even months. Downing Street has not disputed the forecast first reported by “The Telegraph” that a longer peak could lead to more deaths than in the spring.
A government spokesman told Tekk.tv: “The latest figures are worrying, which is why we have introduced tougher measures to contain the spread of the virus in the areas where it is most prevalent. We have always sought the advice of a wide range of scientific and medical experts to support government decision-making throughout the pandemic. It is vital that everyone continues to play their part by following these rules so that we can save lives and protect the NHS”.
Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance is now expected to urge the Prime Minister to take more drastic action and impose nationwide restrictions by mid-December. Vallance now estimates that by the end of next month some 25,000 people will be in hospital with the virus – more than at the first peak, reports The Sun.
Last month, Vallance predicted that the country could have 200 deaths a day by mid-November – a figure weeks ahead of his original expectation. Health authorities now expect the death toll to reach 500 per day “within a few weeks”.
More than eight million people in England will be covered by the toughest COVID blocking measures by the end of the week in a three-stage system. Despite the regional lockdown measures, Dr. Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director of Public Health England, warned that the rising number of COVID deaths in the UK is likely to “continue for some time”.
The bleak picture is projected across Europe, where several countries appear to be on the verge of new national lockdowns as infections rise to record levels. In Germany, Angela Merkel is expected to draw up plans for a so-called “lockdown light”, whereby bars and restaurants will be closed but most schools will remain open, with almost 20,000 new cases occurring every day.
It is also expected that French President Emmanuel Macron will introduce a variety of new lockdown measures for France, which could lead to extended curfews and even a month-long nationwide lockdown, according to local media reports. In Italy, bars and restaurants have been ordered to close at 6pm, with gymnasiums, cinemas and swimming pools to be closed to slow down the second wave of infection across the country – which was the European epicenter of the virus during the first wave in April.