Coronavirus news: Boris Johnson ‘must’ beat rebels on lockdown 3 or face ‘catastrophe’ | UK | News (Reports)


Coronavirus will ‘thrive in winter’ says doctor

England recently entered its new tiered system of restrictions following its second national lockdown through November. It has prompted speculation about how long certain areas will remain in tier 2 before tougher measures are imposed.

However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced opposition from dozens of rebels within his own party in imposing these latest restrictions, with critics voicing concern over economic harm.

Already, the UK has recorded a rise in seven-day case numbers, Government data shows.

113,651 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the past seven days, a rise of 12.7 percent from the seven days prior to that.

Boris Johnson speaking

Mr Johnson faced some opposition when imposing the UK’s current measures (Image: Dan Kitwood / Getty)

Now, a medical expert has warned the Prime Minister must be able to defy party opposition and enforce stricter measures – even national lockdowns – once again if necessary.

Dr Martin Michaelis, Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of Kent’s Industrial Biotechnology Centre, told “If we are not able to keep the COVID-19 spread under control and the numbers rise again as they did before the first and the second lockdown, and we do not go into another lockdown, I am convinced that we will run into a catastrophe from which no Government will ever be able to recover.

“We must not forget that COVID-19 is a very dangerous disease. Data from places including in Italy and Brazil and from prisons have demonstrated that the COVID-19 spread does not naturally come to an end. 66% to 80% of some communities have been found infected.

READ: Wales facing ANOTHER firebreak lockdown amid fresh surge in coronavirus cases

Pedestrians wearing masks

The UK’s seven-day coronavirus case number is currently up more than 12 percent from the seven days prior, at the time of writing (Image: Richard Baker / In Pictures / Getty)

“At an infection-fatality-rate of 0.5%, which is a conservative estimation (we should not forget that already 0.1% of the UK population have died from COVID-19), this would mean 200,000 to 250,000 deaths in the UK in one big wave alone, which would be followed by further waves.

“This would result in the breakdown of the healthcare system, not least because many healthcare workers would fall ill and would not be able to work. Thus, there would be many additional, collateral deaths.”

Dr Michaelis said he believes Mr Johnson would be able to get further necessary restrictions through parliament with a majority vote.

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Pedestrians in London

England exited its second national lockdown at the start of December (Image: Hollie Adams / AFP / Getty)

But he said decision-makers would need to be aware of the “harsh reality” of an uncontrolled Covid-19 spread.

This may not be easy to do. Last month, dozens of Tory MPs gathered to form the anti-lockdown Covid Recovery Group, led by MPs Mark Harper and Steve Baker.

It vowed to campaign against any attempt by Mr Johnson to extend November’s national lockdown even if he was uncomfortable with the UK’s virus spread at that time.

Woman walks past closed shops

Some analysts reportedly think the UK economy could record an 8 percent contraction for November (Image: Nathan Stirk / Getty)

UK coronavirus statistics map

UK coronavirus statistics map (Image: EXPRESS)

Mr Harper said: “Lockdowns cost lives, whether in undiagnosed cancer treatments, deteriorating mental health, and missed A&E appointments – not to mention the impact it has on young people’s education, job prospects and our soaring debts.”

There is growing pressure on the Government even now to provide more assistance to businesses impacted by restrictions.

The hospitality industry’s UKHospitality trade body recently called for more support despite the Government extending a ban on commercial tenant evictions.

Meanwhile some analysts are predicting the UK economy could record an 8 percent contraction for November.

Pint being pulled

The UK’s hospitality industry has called on the Government for more support (Image: Tolga Akmen / AFP / Getty)

Dr Michaelis suggested the onus may be on the British public to ease pressure.

He said: “We need to shift our focus from working out what is allowed within the rules to finding ways to minimise COVID-19 transmission.

“Instead of asking: ‘What are we allowed to do?’, we need to ask ‘What is sensible to do?’.

“If we are serious with the distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, cleaning of potentially contaminated surfaces, and ensuring proper ventilation, we can curb virus transmission.”


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