The public must start taking coronavirus “very seriously again” after people “relaxed too much” over the summer, England’s deputy chief medical officer has warned.
Professor Jonathan Van Tam said the recent surge in infections was of “great concern” and the UK faced “a bumpy ride over the next few months” if cases continued to rise.
His comments came after figures showing that the UK’s coronavirus infection rate had surpassed 20 cases in 100,000 people — the level at which the Government considers imposing quarantine restrictions on foreign countries.
“People have relaxed too much,” he said. “Now is the time for us to re-engage and realize that this is a continuing threat to us.
“It’s all very well saying that hospital admissions and deaths are at a very low level in the UK, which is true, but if you look further into the European Union you can see that where case numbers rise initially in the younger parts of the population they do, in turn, filter through and start to give elevated rates of disease and hospital admissions in the older age groups and we know that that then becomes a serious public health problem.
“That’s my concern, that if we don’t get on top of this, if people don’t start to take this seriously again, then there is a risk that that’s where we end up.”
A further 2,948 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the 24 hours up to 9 am on Monday, after 2,988 cases were announced on Sunday — the highest figure since May 22.
Stricter rules on home visits will be extended to two areas in western Scotland from midnight, while the Welsh county borough of Caerphilly will be put under local lockdown from 6pm on Tuesday.
Professor John Edmunds, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, warned that Covid-19 cases are “increasing exponentially”. Read more