Top scientist warns second UK-wide lockdown ‘must be avoided’ at all costs

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A top scientist has advised a second nationwide lockdown to fight the ongoing coronavirus pandemic must be avoided "at all costs".

Back in March, the UK was plunged into lockdown when the government announced the need for stopping back freedoms in order to tackle the rising Covid-19 virus infection rates and to avoid the NHS becoming overwhelmed with cases.

Restrictions have been eased since July – however, signals have been raised that a second national lockdown could be considered as infection rates across the UK have continued to flare up.

The government has refused to rule out a second lockdown – but there are some parts of the UK that have already seen stricter restrictions re-introduced in recent weeks amid increased infection rates and a rising R Number.

But now Professor Peter Horby, of the University of Oxford, has warned rising cases, hospital admissions and deaths could signal the need for a second lockdown, and hinted it is down to the public to see that this is avoided.

The expert told the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: "I think that’s a possibility and we have to do what we can to avoid that at all costs."

He continued: "We are already seeing in some parts of the North that some hospitals are starting to see the pressure.

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"We have a doubling time of about eight to 15 days so it is not long before those ICU (intensive care unit) beds could be full and we could be in a really difficult situation.

"So I am afraid we are going to have to make some very difficult choices and act very quickly."

His warning comes after the number of people in hospital suffering from coronavirus increased across every part of England on Saturday.

While cases in Scotland have left some fearing the Scottish government, led by under-fire Nicola Sturgeon, has lost control as it has become the worst-hit nation in the UK for coronavirus cases and it is believed the R number is higher there than anywhere else in the four nations.

Scotland has been under stricter restrictions for longer – but seemingly with no effect.

While criticism has been aimed at the SNP led government for implementing severe restrictions in non-SNP supporting regions where coronavirus cases have broken out, such as Aberdeenshire, compared with limited action taken in SNP voting strongholds like Glasgow.

While others have criticised the Scottish government for bouldering ahead to introduce a separate track and trace app for cases North of the border, which is not compatible with the NHS app that works in England and Wales.

  • Coronavirus
  • BBC
  • Boris Johnson

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