Chief medical officer warns of ‘very challenging winter’ and we may face six months of lockdown restrictions – UKMALAYALEE

Chief medical officer warns of ‘very challenging winter’ and we may face six months of lockdown restrictions

Monday 21 September 2020 6:14 AM UTC

LONDON Sept 21: England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has warned the rate of COVID-19 infections in the UK is “heading in the wrong direction”. In a televised briefing, the chief medical officer for England will say the country faces a ‘very challenging winter’, with the current trend heading in ‘the wrong direction’.

According to Downing Street, they will explain how the coronavirus is currently spreading and set out “potential scenarios” for the months ahead. They will not be joined by Prime Minister Boris Johnson or any members of the cabinet and will not take questions from journalists.

In a statement ahead of the briefing, Professor Whitty said the country was at “a critical point in the pandemic. We are looking at the data to see how to manage the spread of the virus ahead of a very challenging winter period,” he added.

The stark warning is set to come after Boris Johnson yesterday held talks with Professor Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance as he draws up a virus battle plan that could see the country face another six months of lockdown restrictions.

During his address, Professor Whitty, who will appear alongside the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, will explain how the virus is spreading in the UK and the potential scenarios that could unfold as winter approaches.

They will draw on data from other countries such as Spain and France, which are experiencing a second surge, to underline how their experience could be replicated in the UK.

Ministers will decide today whether to impose a lockdown on the capital, with Mayor Sadiq Khan pressing for ‘fast action’.

The warning comes as it was revealed that bars and restaurants that allow big groups to gather or fail to collect customers’ details will be served with orders forcing them to close immediately. Local authorities and the police will be encouraged to perform spot checks to ensure venues are meeting the requirements.

Possible measures include forcing bars and restaurants to shut at 10pm each night, as has already happened in places such as Bolton and Newcastle. There may also be a ban on socialising with people from other households.

The Government is preparing to launch a major offensive to enforce the rules that are currently in place in a bid to minimise the need for further restrictions.

On Sunday, another 3,899 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK were announced, while a further 18 people died within 28 days of testing positive, bringing the UK total to 41,777.

The latest figures came after the Government announced that anyone in England refusing to obey an order to self-isolate could face a fine of up to £10,000.

Mr Johnson has been desperate to avoid another nationwide lockdown amid concerns about the economic damage it will inflict just as activity was beginning to pick up again.

A senior Government figure told The Times that while no final decision had been made by the Prime Minister, the Government was looking over the next six months.

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