Britain recorded an average of 47,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day over the past week, up 18% from the previous week, figures released on Friday showed. There was an average of 135 deaths per day, a 16% increase from the previous week. Britain has recorded more than 139,000 coronavirus deaths during the pandemic, the highest death toll in Europe after Russia.
Many scientists are urging the government to reintroduce some of the measures it lifted three months ago at the end of more than a year of restrictions, including mandatory indoor masks, social distancing and counseling about working from home.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, a body of scientists that advises the government, says “policy work on the potential reintroduction of measures should be undertaken now so that it can be ready for rapid deployment,” according to the lawsuit. minutes from a meeting held last week. .
The group said that of all the measures being considered by the government, the “reintroduction of working from home is likely to have the greatest individual impact on transmission.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Tory government has said it could reimpose some restrictions as part of a fall and winter ‘Plan B’ – but not yet.
Britain relies almost exclusively on vaccines to keep the virus at bay during the autumn and winter months, when respiratory viruses circulate most widely. Almost 80% of people aged 12 and over in the UK have received two doses of the vaccine and millions of people are being offered a booster, including all those over 50.
Scientific modelers on the advisory group said that a large spike in hospitalizations like the one seen last winter was increasingly unlikely, and that booster vaccines could keep the virus spreading “at levels similar to or below. those currently observed ”. But they said there could still be thousands more coronavirus deaths in the months to come.
The Prime Minister, who visited a vaccination center in London on Friday, said the current level of infection was “not outside the parameters of what had been predicted”.
Johnson urged people to take “common sense” precautions such as wearing a mask and being reminded as soon as they were eligible – six months after the second dose.
Although some have suggested that a new lockdown may be needed if cases continue to rise, Johnson has dismissed the idea.
“At the moment, we see absolutely nothing to indicate that this is planned at all,” he said.