Video report by Emily Morgan, editor-in-chief of ITV News Health
The last peak of coronavirus the cases are “very worrying”, warned the deputy chief medical officer of England.
The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the The UK has been close to 3,000 in the past two days, a significant jump compared to the previous days.
Professor Johnathan Van Tam said the recent outbreak was a “big change” and afterwards the outlook seemed to “relax over the summer”.
He added that if the UK did not get its numbers under control, the country could have a ‘bumpy race in the coming months’.
Mr Van Tam’s warning reflects a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) who today told Robert Peston for ITV News that the number of cases “was increasing exponentially. «
Professor John Edmunds warned that the R number in England was already above 1 and this could be made worse by the reopening of schools and universities across the country.
He said the UK faces a daunting challenge in controlling the virus during the fall.
Professor Van Tam added that the increase was “much more marked” in the 17-21 age group.
He said: ‘For the first time, I think I see a trend that it’s no longer about disease in these specific hot spots, like Leicester a few months ago, the North West more recently, but there is a more general and creeping geographic trend. across the UK, across England, as disease levels are now starting to rise on a wider geographic basis.
“This is yet another signal that we have to start taking this very seriously again.”
Earlier today, Secretary of Health Matt Hancock pleaded with young people to stick to social distancing measures as he said age group was behind the increase in cases.
Mr Hancock said the recent increases were “concerning” but the national government has not indicated there will be a further change in strategy.
Prof Van-Tam said politicians and public health policy makers should think about “how we are handling this and how we are not doing it in the short term, not the next six days, not the next six weeks, but about the next six months and how we’ll get there until spring ”.
He added that it was “clear” that the level of compliance with the restrictions “is indeed very variable”.
Sunday saw the highest number of confirmed cases in the UK since May, with 2,988 people testing positive for the disease.
Slightly fewer cases were announced today at 2,948, but it is still much higher than the 1,406 confirmed last Monday.
In the interview, Mr Van Tam said, “It’s a big change, it’s now consistent over two days and it’s a big concern at this point.
‘I think you know we were able to relax a bit this summer, the disease levels have been really pretty low in the UK throughout the summer, but these latest numbers really show us how much people would like to say: gone, “it has not disappeared,” he said.
“It’s a virus we’re going to have to live with and if we’re not careful, if we don’t take it incredibly seriously from now on, we’re going to have a bumpy ride over the next few months. ”
The UK is not the only country struggling with a resurgence of the virus, with Spain, France and Germany all seeing their numbers increase.
The UK has extended its quarantine restrictions for foreign arrivals in several Greek islands today, but this will only apply to England, with Wales and Scotland having different rules.