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Professor Chris Witty and Sir Patrick Vallance set the preparations for a second coronavirus lockdown at a press conference this morning. Sir Patrick warned if infections rise unabated, “there would be something like 50,000 cases per day by the middle of October”. He added this would result in “200-plus deaths per day” by November.
The Government physician added, “so we do not enter this exponential growth, that requires speed, that requires action and it requires enough of both to bring that down.”
His comments came after a minister warned the UK was only a few weeks behind Europe, particularly Spain and France.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News: “We’re certainly at a critical moment this morning.
“It is clear we’re just a few weeks behind what we’re seeing elsewhere in Europe.
“You only have to look at what’s happening in France, particularly in Spain, and you can see that things have taken off there.”
However, Oncologist Professor Karol Sikora tweeted a graph showed a rise in infections in Spain did not necessarily mean a rise in hospitalisations.
Professor Sikora tweeted: “Useful chart from the BBC.
“Hospitalisations have gone up in France and Spain.
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“But, certainly in Spain it seems to be under control.
“These are the two examples that get referenced most, many countries are not seeing significant spikes.
“We need caution, but panic will help nobody.”
To date in Spain, there have been 659,334 coronavirus cases, with 30,495 deaths.
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But the daily new cases are rising again to the same levels as March.
The current drop in hospitalisations in Spain could coincide with the introduction of tougher measures to stop the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Professor Chris Whitty set expectations that new measures would seriously disrupt life in the UK.
He said that a scientific approach would “ride to our rescue”.
But, he said that “in the next six months, I think we have to realise that we have to take this collectively, very seriously”.
However, the need for the public to take measures imposed by the Government seriously was today reiterated by Professor Ravi Mahajan, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists
On the Royal College of Anesthetists website Professor Mahajan said: “The statement by Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance today highlights the impact of a second surge in COVID-19, potentially causing unknown damage to the country and thousands more unnecessary deaths.
“As we move into winter, with the pressure of other illnesses, it is important to ensure that any significant rise in cases of COVID-19 do not overwhelm the NHS.”
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