Coronavirus cases have seen a sharp increase in recent days, with Monday’s figure of 2,948 cases the highest number since May 22. Top scientists are warning the spike in cases is due to the nation having “relaxed too much”. Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer cautioned of a second wave in cases on Monday.
Professor Van-Tam said the UK is in for a “bumpy ride over the next few months” with experts warning a second wave of the virus “is coming”.
The increasing cases are “much more marked” in the 17 to 21 age group according to Professor Van-Tam, but the UK is seeing a “more general and creeping geographic trend”.
In total 38 areas in England are currently on the Government’s watchlist, with cases spiking across the country.
Leeds, Middlesbrough and South Tyneside were among those added this week, with reviews on coronavirus data occurring weekly.
Read More: How many coronavirus infections trigger a local lockdown?
Dr David Nabarro, the World Health Organisation’s special envoy for the global COVID-19 response, told Sky News of the second wave: “It’s coming. I don’t like it calling it a second wave, I just say there are going to be more spikes and indeed some surges of cases because the virus hasn’t changed.
“It’s the same virus that came and caused so much trouble earlier this year.
“It’s just been lurking, we’ve been very good at holding it back through restricting movement and lockdowns.”
Local lockdowns have been imposed in some areas, but could a more widespread approach be on the horizon?
In terms of a second lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made it clear he does not want a repeat of March – likening it to a “nuclear deterrent”.
Speaking to the Telegraph in July Mr Johnson said he “certainly” did not want another blanket shutdown “and nor do I think we will be in that position again”.
The first lockdown, which began at the end of March and only saw some restrictions lifted in June and July, proved devastating for the economy.
However, at the end of August Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned nationwide restrictions could not be ruled out if England experiences a spike in coronavirus cases this winter.
Local lockdowns are still being enforced, in Lancashire, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham, Pendle, Leicester and Northampton.
The Government is continuing to monitor data, making decisions about which areas should be watched, where intervention should be given and if any restrictions need to be imposed.
The latest R-rate for the UK stands at 0.9 to 1.1, and the number of cases each day as a growth rate of minus one percent to two percent.
The R-rate is the number of people one person infected with coronavirus could pass it on to.
An R-rate of one means for every one person with coronavirus, another person will catch it.
This comes as across the UK there have been complaints from those trying to access coronavirus tests.
Many of those logging on to the service are given a message which reads “this service is currently unavailable” or are being asked to travel miles away from their location.
Some test sites have been recommended to Britons who live more than 150 miles away.
With public transport advised against for those seeking tests, Britons are struggling to access the service.
Sarah-Jane Marsh, director of testing at the Whitehall Test and Trace operation tweeted today: “Can I please offer my heartfelt apologies to anyone who cannot get a COVID test at present.
“All of our testing sites have capacity, which is why they don’t look overcrowded, its our laboratory processing that is the critical pinch-point.
“We are doing all we can to expand quickly.”