Boris Johnson has compared the recent surge in coronavirus infections to “dashboard warnings on a passenger jet” — as his chief medical officer warned that harsh new restrictions may not be enough to curb the rise in cases. Chris Whitty
The Prime Minister told the nation it was entering a “new and crucial phase” in the fight against coronavirus and “we must act now” as he unveiled a new three-tier lockdown system for England.
The new measures, set to come into force on Wednesday, will see pubs and bars shut in the Liverpool city region after the area was placed at a “very high” alert level, with mixing between households also banned and advice against travel in or out.
But during a Downing Street briefing on Monday, Professor Chris Whitty suggested that even these strict Tier 3 measures “will not be sufficient” to slow Covid-19 infections alone.
Prof Whitty said he was “very confident” the current measures are helping to slow the virus but warned “significantly” deeper restrictions may be needed.
Indicating tougher curbs to come, he added: “I am not confident — nor is anybody confident — that the Tier 3 proposals for the highest rate, if you did the absolute base case and nothing more, would be enough to get on top of it.”
Local leaders in Tier 3 areas have discretion to impose more widespread closures, such as in Merseyside where gyms, leisure centres and casinos are closing.
But the PM hinted he would impose further restrictions if ongoing talks with other northern leaders are unsuccessful.