Boris Johnson Urged To Impose Stricter Lockdown After Worst Death Toll Since May

The second wave of Covid-19 will be more deadly than in the spring, a new internal projection shows.

Calls for Boris Johnson to take “drastic” action and impose stricter coronavirus restrictions are increasing after the UK recorded its highest daily Covid-19 death toll since May.

It comes as a new projection by the government’s own scientists shows the second wave of coronavirus will be more deadly than the first.

The projection – shared by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) and reported in The Telegraph – suggests the death toll could remain high throughout the winter, peaking at a lower level than in spring but then remaining level for weeks – or even months.

“Their ad hoc tier-by-tier approach is wholeheartedly inadequate.”

- Dr Zubaida Haque, Independent Sage member

The paper said the internal analysis has led to “intense” lobbying from experts including chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Valance for the prime minister to take more “drastic” action.

“It’s going to be worse this time, more deaths,” one source told the paper.

“That is the projection that has been put in front of the prime minister, and he is now being put under a lot of pressure to lockdown again.”

Independent Sage member Dr Zubaida Haque echoed the government’s own advisers, adding efforts to contain the spread of the virus were “wholeheartedly failing”.

“They are not managing to contain the virus because they are not taking a cross-national circuit breaker approach as Sage suggested in September and Independent Sage also suggested,” she said.

“Every scientific advisory group has said to the government you need to have a circuit breaker because their ad hoc tier-by-tier approach is wholeheartedly inadequate. Covid cases are increasing everywhere across the country, not just in the north-west [of England] but also in the south-west.

She added: “What is appalling is there has been no sign of a plan to suppress this virus.”

Sage member and former chief scientific adviser Sir Mark Walport told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on Wednesday it was “certainly not unrealistic” to think of 25,000 people being in hospital with Covid-19 by the end of November.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “France, which has a very similar population to us, currently has about 16,000 people in hospital, it’s got 2,500 in intensive care beds compared with 852 here, and roughly half the ICU beds in France are occupied; we’re seeing similar things in Spain.

“And these are in spite of these countries taking strong measures as well.

“So, the answer is that with our current measures, which are similar but with variations in different parts of Europe, there’s still evidence that it’s not – there isn’t as much social distancing as there were when we clamped down on the first wave and so we know that the risk is significant that cases will continue to grow.”

A government spokesperson said ministers were receiving advice from a “wide range of scientific and medical experts”.

On Tuesday, the UK’s daily coronavirus death toll topped 350 for the first time since May.

The deaths of 367 people who had tested positive for Covid-19 recorded on Tuesday brings the UK’s total death toll to 45,365. Meanwhile, 22,885 new coronavirus cases were recorded.

On Monday, it was revealed that the north west town of Warrington would enter tier 3, the highest level of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, in an effort to get the virus under control.

It will be joined on the “very high” alert level by Nottingham, Broxtowe, Gelding and Rushcliffe on Thursday.


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