Jonathan Van-Tam said intensive care units in the northwest of England could fill up in less than a month. Daily hospitalisations are currently around the same level as they were in the days leading up to March 23, when the UK first went into full lockdown.
The government yesterday reported 13,864 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the UK’s total to 575,679. The daily figure is down from 17,540 on Thursday.
Friday’s figure is several times higher than when the UK went into lockdown on March 23. On that date, 2,328 new infections were recorded.
The figure is significantly higher than at any point during the UK’s ‘first wave’, where reported daily infections peaked between 5,000 and 6,000, government data shows, though this was before the introduction of mass testing.
According to PoliticsHome further restrictions could target Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool specifically.
Last month, Mr Van-Tam warned hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants were accounting for around 20 percent of all coronavirus transmissions.
Pubs alone were accounting for nine percent of the total, he added in a call to roughly 90 MPs.
The Government last month announced new restrictions on hospitality venues specifically, forcing them to close at 10pm.
The move has since sparked debate, with reports of people crowding around in streets and on public transport due to everywhere closing at the same time.
In addition, leaders across the north of England have said they will resist any new central Government measures unless they receive significant financial support.
Judith Blake, head of Leeds city council, said she was concerned the city would be subject to pub closures as part of third-tier restrictions.
She told the Guardian: “We’re working with both hands tied behind our backs, trying to do the best thing locally, and then you get the government just leaking information to the press.”
Sadiq Khan has also warned of further restrictions in London.
The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) warned recently: “Sage is almost certain that the epidemic continues to grow exponentially across the country, and is confident that the transmission is not slowing.
“While the R value remains above 1.0, infections will continue to grow at an exponential rate.”