Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the London-based research charity the Wellcome Trust, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), has expressed his fear about coronavirus returning, and expects a rise in the number of new cases heading into July. The government adviser said learning how to get control of localised outbreaks could avoid a new disaster like the one that began to devastate the country in March. He said cases could begin to rise in a matter of days, after weeks of lockdown easing.
Sir Jeremy said: “In truth, the restrictions started to to be lifted towards the end of May, the beginning of June, around that bank holiday.
“I would predict, I would guess, that we will start to see a few increases in cases towards the end of June or the first week of July.”
But he fears a real second wave of coronavirus infections is likely to emerge in the autumn and winter, and could start in October and November.
Sir Jeremy warned driving this new spike would be the fact common colds and the flu will be circulating by then, with people struggling to tell the difference between those and COVID-19.
The UK Government has said the main symptoms of coronavirus are a new cough or high temperature, as well as a changed or lost sense of smell or tasted – symptoms that can all be caused by colds and flu.
A top Government expert has warned a second wave of coronavirus could hit the UK within weeks
Sir Jeremy said: “The really difficult thing for all us in September, October, is when we all get normal coughs and colds and children are back going to school and they get respiratory infections that are normal at that time of year: have we got the capacity to distinguish normal respiratory infections – influenza and others – from Covid-19?
“Can we interrupt the chains of transmission immediately, within 48 hours, of new cases starting?
“And there will be some disruption of that as people with coughs and colds come into work, come into school places, and people need to think through the consequences of that.
“Through July and August, if we do things sensibly, we can prevent the national catastrophe that happened in March and April.
“If we don’t – if we don’t have those core national infrastructures in place – then we will see a very nasty rebound in the winter.”
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8.22am update: Boris ‘asleep at the wheel’ during coronavirus crisis – Starmer
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has launched a scathing attack against Boris Johnson for being too slow to bring the coronavirus crisis under control.
He told ITV: “I think the prime minister has been asleep at the wheel, he has been slow, the comms, the communications has been terrible.
“It began to break down frankly when Dominic Cummings put forward a ridiculous defence of what he had done in the north east.”
“They haven’t done the groundwork on test, trace and isolate.”
8.17am update: Leicester MP believes local lockdown is necessary
Claudia Webbe, the Labour MP for the city, believes a local lockdown for her constituency is necessary after 866 coronavirus cases have been recorded in the past two weeks.
She told BBC Breakfast: “There are significant worries and significant problems in terms of inequalities and high levels of poverty that I’m concerned about.
“That is the context in which this Covid-19 is operating in. So I’m very concerned, and I really do believe that where the data allows we need to ensure that we engage in processes to protect lives, and I think we need to go into therefore more localised lockdown to protect lives and ensure that we can address this virus.
“The Government hasn’t reassured us. Thus far, the messages and the communication from the Government have been unclear, and it has been difficult, and I really don’t understand what communities are meant to follow.”
8.10am update: Germany reports 262 new coronavirus cases
Germany has announced 262 new coronavirus infections, with this total increasing to 193,761, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.
A further four new deaths have been announced, taking this overall tally to 8,961.
8.07am update: Australia second wave fears with biggest daily rise in new cases in two months
Australia has reported its biggest one-day rise in new coronavirus infections in more than two months, with the country’s most populous state considering reimposing social distancing rules.
Victoria announced 75 new cases in the most recent 24 hour period – enough to make it Australia’s biggest daily outbreak since April 11.
The huge spike has ignited fears of a second wave of coronavirus in the country following several weeks of less than 20 cases a day.
Victoria’s chief health officer said the state is considering reimposing social distancing restrictions.
Brett Sutton told reporters in Melbourne: “Changing the law is something we have to consider because we have to do whatever is required to turn this around.”
7.58am update: Beijing’s new cases fall into single figures
The Government of the Chinese capital reported seven new coronavirus cases for Sunday, down from 14 a day earlier.
Beijing is currently desperately trying to contain a possible new outbreak following a surge in infections over recent weeks.
The city also reported one new asymptomatic case – a patient who has the coronavirus but is not exhibiting symptoms compared with three on Saturday.
Germeny has tightened some of its coronavirus measures to prevent its spread, including mandatory quarantines for domestic travellers.
The introduction of new measures was prompted by a string of outbreaks across the country.
The restrictions come as the state of Bavaria revealed its “free test offensive”, while Berlin started to issue fines to those refusing to wear face coverings.
Other states have introduced bans and quarantines for travellers who originate from heavily-affected areas.
People travelling from the town of Gütersloh in North Rhine Westphalia must quarantine for two weeks upon arrival at most states, or other wise present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test.
Published at Mon, 29 Jun 2020 06:20:00 +0000