New national lockdown ‘to be announced early next week

Published: 31 October 2020, 1:16 PM

Post Desk : Boris Johnson is expected to announce new national lockdown restrictions, early next week in a bid to save Christmas.

Mr Johnson is said to have made the decision after scientists warned that half a million people were being infected with coronavirus each week.

The Prime Minister, had accused Labour of trying to “turn the lights out” with a national lockdown, but is expected to announce the measures for England – which could be introduced on Wednesday and last until December 1 – at a press conference on Monday, according to The Times.

Reports suggest that the UK is on course for a significantly higher death toll from coronavirus than during the first wave of the pandemic, unless ministers implement further restrictions.

Everything except essential shops and education settings could be closed under the new measures but no final decisions are believed to have been made. Tougher regional measures are also being considered.

The Prime Minister is reported to have been shown new data that shows a significantly higher peak than those estimated at any point in the current worst case scenario.

A wide range in projections was reported with one putting daily deaths over 4,000, BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said.

A further 274 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Friday, the Government said, while a further 24,405 lab-confirmed cases were recorded in the UK.

These latest briefings come after official documents from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) revealed that Covid is spreading much faster in England than the predicted “worst-case” scenario, which estimated there could be 85,000 deaths from Covid during winter.

The Sage documents, dated 14 October and published on Friday, revealed that scientists estimated that, by mid-October, there were between 43,000 and 74,000 people being infected with coronavirus every day in England.

Professor Jeremy Farrar, a Sage member, wrote on Twitter: “To bring Covid-19 under control, we have to act now.”

He added: “We have quickly breached the reasonable worst-case scenario, we are further ahead in this phase of the epidemic than many have assumed.”

More than a dozen regions in England will move into Tier 2 restrictions on Saturday, including Carlisle, after an announcement was made on Friday evening.

Coronavirus is “running riot” across all age groups, Professor Calum Semple, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), has warned.

Speaking in a personal capacity, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “For the naysayers that don’t believe in a second wave, there is a second wave.

“And unlike the first wave, where we had a national lockdown which protected huge swathes of society, this outbreak is now running riot across all age groups.”

Professor Anthony Gordon, a critical care expert at Imperial College London, warned that if the NHS becomes “overwhelmed” then it will not be able to provide the best care for coronavirus patients.

“We have to stop the spread of the virus because if we don’t we will overwhelm the health service and none of us want that,” he told Today.