British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he does not want another national lockdown, but new restrictions may be needed because the country is facing a second wave of Covid-19.
“We are now seeing a second wave coming in. It is absolutely, I’m afraid, inevitable,” Johnson told UK media.
Britain has been trying to avoid a national lockdown, hoping that locking down local hotspots when they occur would be enough to halt a second wave.
But new Covid-19 cases have almost doubled to 6,000 per day, hospital admissions are rising, and infection rates soaring across northern England and London, Reuters reports.
“When you look at what is happening, you’ve got to wonder whether we need to go further than the rule of six that we brought in on Monday,” Johnson said, referring to the nationwide ban on gatherings of more than six people.
Britain has suffered the fifth largest number of deaths from Covid-19 in the world, after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.
“We’re seeing clear signs this virus is now spreading widely across all age groups and I am particularly worried by the increase in admissions to hospital and intensive care among older people,” said Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England.
“This could be a warning of far worse things to come.”
British Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Sunday a second national lockdown is one possible step to curb the spread of coronavirus, but it is not what he wants to happen.
He told the BBC, “If everybody follows the rules then we can avoid further national lockdowns, but we, of course, have to be prepared to take action if that’s what’s necessary.”