Covid: UK faces ‘one other lockdown Christmas if we don’t act quickly’ | Coronavirus

A outstanding adviser to the federal government on Covid-19 has stated he’s very scared of one other Christmas lockdown, as he urged the general public to do all the things attainable to cut back the unfold of the virus.

Prof Peter Openshaw, a member of the New and Rising Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), stated the present variety of circumstances and deaths charges had been unacceptable, and reiterated the significance of measures similar to working from residence and masks sporting.

His intervention comes after the prime minister resisted calls from well being leaders, together with the pinnacle of the NHS Confederation and the council chair of the British Medical Affiliation, who urged “categorically” that the “time is now” for tighter restrictions.

Requested on Friday about the potential of a winter lockdown, Boris Johnson stated there was “completely nothing to point that that’s on the playing cards in any respect”. The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, additionally stated the vaccine rollout and booster jabs made a lockdown or “very important financial restrictions” unlikely.

The well being secretary, Sajid Javid, conceded earlier this week that new circumstances may attain a document 100,000 a day, however Downing Avenue insisted there was nonetheless spare capability within the NHS and that “plan B” winter measures, together with the necessary use of face masks and dealing from residence steering, would solely be activated if it got here underneath important stress.

Talking in a private capability, Openshaw advised BBC Breakfast on Saturday that he feared “one other lockdown Christmas if we don’t act quickly”. He stated: “We all know that with public well being measures the time to behave is straight away. There’s no level in delaying. In case you do delay then it’s essential take much more stringent actions later. The immediacy of response is completely very important should you’re going to get issues underneath management.”

He stated getting measures in place now as a way to “get transmission charges proper down” was key to having “a beautiful household Christmas the place we will all get again collectively”.

Openshaw stated it was “unacceptable to be letting this run for the time being … I feel hospitals in lots of components of the nation are barely coping truly. Speaking to individuals on the frontline, I feel it’s simply not sustainable to maintain going at this fee.”

The UK recorded its highest variety of Covid-related deaths since March final week.

Openshaw stated: “At one stage final week there have been 180 deaths in a single day. That’s simply too many deaths. We appear to have acquired used to the concept we’re going to have many, many individuals dying of Covid and that I feel is simply not the case,.”

He urged the general public to take issues into their very own fingers to decelerate transmission of the virus, fairly than ready for the federal government to reintroduce measures, together with avoiding public transport and crowded areas if attainable, getting vaccinated and accepting the supply of the booster jab.

“The earlier all of us act, the earlier we will get this transmission fee down, and the higher the prospect of getting a Christmas with our households,” he stated.

Members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) stated in minutes of a gathering revealed on Friday {that a} additional large rise in infections as seen in January was more and more unlikely. Different specialists predict a collection of broader, flatter peaks because the virus continues to unfold.

In its assembly dated 14 October, nonetheless, Sage stated measures contained within the authorities’s plan B could be handiest if carried out in unison and earlier fairly than later.

Commerce union leaders representing 3 million frontline employees attacked the federal government’s “laissez-faire method to managing the pandemic” on Friday. They stated it risked “one other winter of chaos” with out pressing motion, together with necessary masks sporting in outlets and on public transport.

And at the very least a dozen native public well being chiefs in England have damaged from the federal government’s official steering and beneficial plan B measures, together with masks sporting and dealing from residence, to fight a surge in Covid infections of their areas.

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