Professor Whitty warns there could be another lockdown in just five weeks as case numbers soar
The Government’s top medic has warned the number of people in hospital with Covid could reach “quite scary” levels as the UK could go back into lockdown in five weeks, according to The Sun.
Professor Chris Whitty England’s chief medical officer said the UK is “not out of the woods yet” as coronavirus cases surge across the UK.
The latest figures showed 48,553 more cases, the highest since January 15, while the 63 deaths were the biggest daily reported increase since March 26.
Speaking at a science museum webinar Prof Whitty warned that the Prime Minister may have to "look again" at reimposing restrictions in in "five, six, seven eight weeks' time", The Sun reports.
The news comes after Boris Johnson announced the lifting of coronavirus restrictions from July 19 and declared it was “highly probable” the worst of the pandemic is over.
Prof Whitty said: “I don’t think we should underestimate the fact that we could get into trouble again surprisingly fast.”
He warned that the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 is currently doubling about every three weeks and could reach “quite scary numbers” if the trend continues.
He said: “We are not by any means out of the woods yet on this, we are in much better shape due to the vaccine programme, and drugs and a variety of other things.
“But this has got a long way to run in the UK, and it’s got even further to run globally.”
The Professor’s comments come after Mr Johnson urged people not to “throw caution to the wind” as England’s restrictions begin to ease next week and acknowledged there would be more hospital admissions and deaths from Covid-19 to come during “difficult days and weeks ahead”.
Rules in England on social distancing, mandatory masks and orders to work from home will be lifted from Monday.
The surge in infections has had a knock-on effect in the number of people self-isolating after coming into contact with a confirmed coronavirus case.
Ministers are concerned about the scale of the problem and are examining whether the NHS Covid-19 app could be made less sensitive to reduce the numbers being “pinged”.
Prof Whitty said the key on July 19 was “to take things incredibly slowly”, and said he expected most people to continue to take precautions.