British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was inevitable the country would see a second wave of coronavirus infections and while he did not want a second national lockdown, the government may need to introduce new restrictions.
The United Kingdom was reported to be considering whether to impose a new lockdown across the country, after new COVID-19 cases almost doubled to 6,000 a day, hospital admissions rose and infection rates soared across parts of northern England and London.
“We are now seeing a second wave coming in … It is absolutely, I’m afraid, inevitable, that we will see it in this country,” said Johnson.
The sharp rise in the number of cases in the country meant the government needed to keep everything under review and he did not rule out further measures being introduced.
“I don’t want to get into a second national lockdown at all,” he said. “When you look at what is happening, you’ve got to wonder whether we need to go further.”
The United Kingdom has reported more than 384,000 cases of the coronavirus with 41,794 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Johnson’s comments came amid mounting speculation that the government will announce fresh curbs on the hospitality sector, such as pubs and restaurants, potentially involving curfews – something already in place in areas facing extra lockdown restrictions.
Without going into specifics, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the country has to “come together” over the coming weeks to get on top of the spike.
He said new transmissions are largely taking place in social settings and have already led a doubling in the number of people being hospitalised with the virus every seven to eight days.
Critics say the government has lost control of the virus, partly as a result of the testing woes being reported up and down the UK and that is why new measures are being introduced.
Already this week, a ban on social gatherings of more than six people, including children, has come into effect for England.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have announced similar clampdowns on meetings.
And in a sign that the virus is here to stay through winter, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan cancelled the upcoming annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display.