Covid Restrictions Could Be Reinforced In A Few Weeks
Coronavirus restrictions could be reinforced just weeks after they were dropped on Monday.
Many Brits counted down to so-called Freedom Day on July 19, however, scientists with the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) have warned that some restrictions may have to come back in as little as three weeks if hospital admissions continue to rise.
Scientists have reportedly urged ministers to take action if there is a continued increase in the number of people being admitted to hospital with coronavirus, explaining that Boris Johnson should be prepared to act in the first week of August in order to prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed.
A source cited by i news has said what was needed was ‘less of an emergency brake and more of a gear change’ when it came to reducing restrictions in an effort to keep the third wave ‘under control’.
The warnings come as modelling suggested that daily hospitalisations at the peak of the third wave, which is expected to hit at the end of August, could be between 1,000 and 2,000, with between 100 and 200 deaths per day.
However, the latest figures from the middle of July show that the UK has already seen as many as 745 patients admitted to hospital in a single day; a figure which continued to rise even before restrictions were lifted on July 19.
With the number of hospitalisations doubling roughly every three weeks, according to chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, the number of people being admitted by the end of the first week of August could be close to 1,500.
Though insiders have made clear there is a lot of uncertainty in the modelling, with predictions changing depending on the vaccine rollout and people’s behaviour following the lifting of restrictions, SAGE scientists have recommended that some measures should be reintroduced, such as mandatory face masks and advice to work from home, in early August.
Some experts have shown their approval for the return of such measures, with Professor Dominic Harrison, director of public health for Blackburn, commenting:
Any return to non pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to control spread would have to focus on those that give the biggest suppression effect.
Essentially we might expect a reverse through the lockdown lifting steps with each ‘reverse step’ being introduced to match the scale of the surge in cases.
The news of potential reinforcement of measures comes after Johnson repeatedly described his roadmap out of lockdown as ‘cautious’ but ‘irreversible’ in an effort to ensure Britain could free itself of restrictions without having to look back.