Coronavirus LIVE: Britain faces threat of CHRISTMAS LOCKDOWN as winter second wave looms

Coronavirus LIVE: Britain faces threat of CHRISTMAS LOCKDOWN as winter second wave looms

The UK has the highest death toll across Europe after surpassing more than 40,000 and concerns about a second spike in the deadly virus have already be raised. Now scientific experts have warned the UK is heading for a difficult winter.

One senior official warned: “We can get away with a lot at the moment because it is summer.

“It is really important that people get ready for the challenges that winter will undoubtedly bring.”

With the annual pressures on the NHS caused by seasonal flu, scientific experts are expecting a harsh winter as they claim the virus flourishes at temperatures of around 4C.

Another senior official said if numbers continue to increase, it is likely there will be another national lockdown.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) revealed the reproduction rate, the average number of people each COVID-19 patient infects – in England is between 0.8 and 1.

According to the Office of National Statistics, around 14,000 people in England currently have the virus.

Now with the threat of a national lockdown in winter, scientists are hoping to push the number of new infections much lower before winter to help cope during a second wave.

Professor James Naismith, from the University of Oxford, said: “These numbers also tell us that we are unlikely to eliminate the virus from the UK before the winter.

“In any event, the virus has become global.

“Without a vaccine, we have to plan for its presence.”

Melbourne, Australia, where it is currently winter, was forced into a second lockdown this week as cases of the virus increased.

Research has claimed vitamin D, obtained through sunlight, plays an important role in the immune system and helps fight off infections.

Leyla Mehmet, from the Really Health Company, told Express.co.uk: “Vitamin D is a potent protector specifically of respiratory immunity.

“Sunshine equals higher levels of Vitamin D, a strong protector of the respiratory system (in every respiratory illness or disease including asthma and COPD) –an essential hormone that is higher where bare skin is exposed to the sun and lower when it is not (such as winter).

“Rain means clouds and clothes, meaning that cold weather restricts our ability to go out there and generate vitamin D.”

The UK coronavirus death toll increased by 48, the latest official figures released yesterday revealed.

This brought the death toll across all settings to 44,650, the Department of Health said.

This includes hospitals, care homes and the community.

No new fatalities were reported by public health officials in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as Britain’s hospital toll climbed to 33,597.

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7.55am update: UK government urged to suspend restrictions denying some immigrants financial help

Scottish ministers are calling on the UK government to “do the right thing” and suspend restrictions which deny some immigrants financial help during COVID-19.

Immigration laws state currently that someone will have “no recourse to public funds” if they are “subject to immigration control”.

But during the pandemic, homeless people and those staying in night shelters have been moved to hotels and other more suitable accommodation – with the Scottish Government, local authorities and others paying for it.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “The Scottish Government is not prepared to abandon some of the most vulnerable in our society at a time when they need our help the most.

“The economic impacts of the pandemic are pushing thousands of people further into poverty and hindering their work opportunities. However, thanks to a rapid and coordinated response in Scotland, we have been able to accommodate people who would otherwise be facing destitution, so that they can protect themselves and others during the Covid-19 crisis.

“As a result, many of those restricted by the UK Government’s harmful NRPF policy who were previously sleeping rough or in unsuitable night shelters, and are now being supported in hotels and other self-contained accommodation.

“But the Scottish Government, local authorities and third sector have had to pick up the tab, without additional support from the UK Government.

“So I am again asking that the UK government do the right thing and immediately lift the restrictions of NRPF for the duration of the coronavirus crisis on public health grounds. Furthermore, the money spent just to ensure that everyone in our society is treated fairly and equitably must be repaid.”

Published at Sat, 11 Jul 2020 06:34:00 +0000