A top UK scientist has said that a second nationwide lockdown was a possibility in the face of a worsening situation of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In a BBC interview on Sunday, Peter Horby, chair of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) and a government adviser, said the UK was at a “precarious point” as Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions have continued to increase.
He said the “critical mission” now was to protect the NHS to avoid non-essential hospital services being cancelled, as many were when the UK went into its first nationwide lockdown in March.
“We really need to provide care to everybody – those with Covid-19 and those without. The way to do that is to keep the numbers down,” the scientist said.
He warned that some hospitals in the north of England were already coming under pressure and it might not be long before intensive care beds fill up.
“I am afraid we are going to have to make some very difficult choices and act very quickly,” Horby told the BBC, adding that the country must accept more stringent measures to lower the virus transmission.
The scientist’s remarks came a day ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement to imposed tougher local restrictions in the wake of the spike in the number of fresh cases.
In a statement to MPs, Johnson will outline plans for a three-tier system, where each region in England will be placed into a tier based on the severity of the Covid-19 situation.
It is expected that parts of the north of England and the Midlands will be placed under tougher measures as part of the Prime Minister’s announcement, the BBC reported.
Liverpool, where there are currently 600 cases per 100,000 people, is expected to be placed under the most severe set of restrictions, with all the city’s pubs forced to close.
Pubs and restaurants across Scotland have shut for at least two weeks.
On Sunday, 12,872 new cases and 65 fatalities were reported in the UK, which increased the overall tally and death toll to 606,447 and 42,915, respectively.