‘Covid-19 deaths will continue to increase’ despite lockdown, warns SAGE expert

A member of government advisory group SAGE has warned that the number of deaths from coronavirus will “continue to increase” throughout the coming month despite Boris Johnson’s new lockdown measures.

The Government has today confirmed that a further 1,041 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 – the highest daily reported total since April 21.

Professor Andrew Hayward, who is Director of the University College London Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care and is a renowned authority on epidemiology, said on BBC Radio 4's PM programme: "It is a grim milestone and I think sadly we can expect the number of deaths to continue to increase for the next few weeks because they'll lag two or three weeks behind the number of cases in the community, and those have been increasing."

He added: "I think the lockdown measures will turn that number of deaths around but it is going to take a little while.”

Professor Haywards aid that he backed the Government strategy of delaying giving the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine in order to give more people their first jab, calling it an "absolute priority to get as many people protected as soon as possible”.

Meanwhile the prime minister has signalled that the current tough lockdown restrictions could remain in force across England until at least April.

Speaking today in the House of Commons he said that said that many of the current lockdown rules could stay in place for even longer , saying they would only be eased in a “steady, controlled” way depending on the infection rate in the various regions."

“Our emergence from the lockdown cocoon will not be a big bang but a gradual unwrapping,” he continued.

“That is why the legislation this house will vote on later today runs until March 31 — not because we expect the full national lockdown to continue until then but to allow a steady, controlled and evidence-led move down through the tiers on a regional basis.”

In terms of sheer case numbers, the UK is currently the fifth worst-affected country in the world – behind the US, India, Brazil and Russia.

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