Leading British government scientists will make a direct appeal to the public on Monday, warning that the direction of the coronavirus is “going in the wrong direction” and that “a critical point has been reached”.
As Downing Street contemplates nationwide restrictions to contain a sharp jump in cases, England’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, will deliver a rare live televised address alongside the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Valance.
Scientists will identify the latest data on the spread of the disease, and urge people to be careful. “We are looking at the data to see how to manage the spread of the virus before this very difficult winter period,” Witty is expected to warn.
London could become the newest area subject to territorial restrictions, with the mayor, Sadiq KhanCouncil leaders meeting on Monday. A spokesperson for Khan said: “It is clear that the situation is getting worse … It is better for both health and business to act early than it is too late.”
With disease increasing Across the UK and across all age groups, and with cases doubling every week, ministers are hoping that broadcast scientists will help deliver the message that tough new restrictions are inevitable if the situation fails to improve.
Witty and Valance will likely compare the UK to other European countries such as France and Spain, which have seen a spike in cases that translate – after a period of delay – to increased hospitalizations and deaths. The UK saw 3,899 new cases and 18 deaths on Sunday.
Matt Hancock Minister of Health He warned that Britain has reached a “turning point.” He did not rule out another national lockdown. In a series of candid television interviews, he said the public has a choice: to comply with the restrictions, including the “rule of six” limiting social gatherings, or imposing stricter measures.
“We face a choice. If everyone follows the rules – and we will be tougher on people not following the rules – then we can avoid more national lockdowns,” he told the BBC on Sunday. But of course we have to be prepared to take action if that is necessary. I don’t rule it out. I don’t want to see him. “
In response to Hancock’s remarks, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer urged the government to “stop blaming and fix problems” with the testing system. Penalties for failing to self-isolate have been increased to a maximum of £ 10,000, with £ 500 paid to the poorest people who are required to self-isolate.
When Hancock was asked whether people should report their neighbors for non-compliance, he said, “Yes.” This letter contrasts with Boris Johnson’s insistence that he would only do so if his neighbors were.Animal house parties With hot tubs. “
Hancock also confirmed that he had met Khan. One option that is understood to be under discussion is urging office workers to stay home, but it appears that restrictions on restaurant hours and new restrictions on socializing appear more likely.
City Hall believes London has been two weeks behind the northern towns and cities that have seen the virus re-emerge, but a new analysis of Sage data on Friday indicated it may only be days late.
More than 13 million people in northern England, the Midlands, Scotland and Wales are already facing some form of local lockdown, with a complex mixture of separate restrictions covering different regions.
Ministers are increasingly seeing that this will not be enough – although government sources assert that any new closings will be more “complicated” than the strict “stay at home” order in March. “We know more about the disease now, and how and where it is spreading,” they said.
Reportedly, some ministers, including the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, are more cautious about the potential economic damage the strict restrictions could cause. It is unlikely that it will be clear if the Six-Base has the effect of reducing transmission for another week.
In Whitehall, concerns have grown over the unchecked growth of the virus Deficiencies in the government testing system, Which has struggled to cope with the increase in demand since the children returned to school.
The National Education Federation has warned that keeping schools fully open may become unsustainable, especially in hotspots, as an increasing number of teachers and pupils isolate themselves with Covid-like symptoms.
In an open letter to the Prime Minister, NEU Joint Secretary-General Mary Boustead and Kevin Courtney said: “We hope you can get this situation under control quickly, but if you can’t, we think you will. You should take steps to reduce school-wide opening. Wider in these areas to help reach an R below 1. ‘
An analysis by The Guardian showed that the testing and tracing program had failed to reach half of the contacts of the infected – nearly 15,000 residents – at coronavirus hotspots in the four weeks prior to the reopening of schools.
Only 55% of those living in the hardest hit areas were reached by outsourcing firms Serco and Sitel in the four weeks through 9 September. The numbers show for the first time how a privately run testing and tracking arm has failed to improve significantly since August when ministers renewed the Serco and Sitel contracts, which they paid £ 200m between.
“We have had concerns for some time about the national system’s ability to reach people in a timely and efficient manner,” said Bev Craig, executive member of health for Manchester City Council.
“During the past two weeks, the national system delivered details of people who were unable to reach them within 24 hours. Our local teams are experiencing much higher success rates than their national counterparts.
“However, for this to continue, it is imperative that local authorities receive the resources to fund this work, because the resources from the failed outsourcing system at the national level have not yet been redirected to the local teams.”
The crisis has also deepened concerns among conservatives about the quality of cabinet ministers. A former minister said what was needed now was “Team A”, but that was not what Johnson had designated.
“We have a very inexperienced cabinet that deals with problems like no one has seen before,” he said.
“A lot of them don’t get into much and none of them are great, nor are any of them. When Johnson came, they put Team A on the bench.”