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Covid-19: UK in early stages of third wave

Covid-19: UK in early stages of third wave

By Katie Wright

BBC News

image copyrightPA Media

Early Newspaper
image captionTwickenham Stadium has been modified into into a vaccine stroll-in centre for a day, including over-18s from the afternoon onwards

There are signs the UK is in the early stages of a third wave of coronavirus infections, a scientist advising the government has said.

Prof Ravi Gupta, from the University of Cambridge, said though new cases were “relatively low” the Indian variant had fuelled “exponential increase”.

He said ending Covid restrictions in England on 21 June ought to be postponed.

Atmosphere Secretary George Eustice said the government could now not rule out a lengthen to the deliberate lockdown easing.

Nonetheless business leaders beget warned of the infamous impact of any alternate to the proposed dates.

On Monday, the UK reported extra than 3,000 new Covid infections for a sixth day in a row.

Earlier than this, the UK had now not surpassed that quantity since 12 April.

No deaths within 28 days of a definite take a look at were reported in England, Wales or Northern Ireland – but one death became reported in Scotland.

Prof Gupta instructed BBC Radio 4’s Right this moment programme the UK became already in a third wave of infections and in any case three quarters of cases were the variant recognized in India.

He said: “Of route the numbers of cases are relatively low in the imply time – all waves begin with low numbers of cases that grumble in the background and then turn into explosive, so the main right here is that what we’re seeing right here is the signs of an early wave.”

Alternatively, he said the quantity of of us that had been vaccinated in the UK meant this wave would potentially grab longer to emerge than old ones.

“There will be a false sense of safety for some time, and that’s the reason our teach.”

The final stage of the government’s roadmap for lifting lockdown would grab away all limits on what number of of us you have to meet – either indoors or outdoors.

Nonetheless Prof Gupta – a member of the government’s Original and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Community (Nervtag) – said ending restrictions in June ought to be delayed “by just a few weeks whilst we derive extra intelligence”.

Meanwhile, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, council chairman of the British Scientific Affiliation, said the UK became at a “pivotal 2nd” in its fight against the virus, and known as on ministers to “act with most warning when considering whether or now not to head ahead with lifting restrictions” on 21 June.

“A premature ending of all prison restrictions which then resulted in a surge of infections would undermine our health service’s efforts to kind out the largest degree of backlog of care it has ever confronted,” he said.

“It would additionally add extra requires on workers who’re exhausted, both mentally and bodily.”

In March, nearly 5 million patients were waiting for surgical design – the most effective quantity since neatly-liked records began.

More than 436,000 were waiting extra than a 300 and sixty five days, NHS England figures teach – when put next with prison 1,600 sooner than the Covid disaster.

Businesses on ‘cliff edge’

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said it may be “devastating” for the sector in the event that they were now not in a location to utterly reopen in June, with many hospitality venues at the moment operating at 60% capability as a consequence of of social distancing principles.

She said some businesses were “haemorrhaging cash” and a lengthen would “push them nearer to the cliff edge of business failure”.

Greg Parmley, chief executive of live tune alternate affiliation Live, said the general sector – from festivals to small venues – became “entirely geared up” for a return from 21 June after being closed for added than a 300 and sixty five days.

He said the government’s series of trial events had shown “tune events could neatly be held safely, with nearly no Covid impact, so there’ll not be the kind of thing as a reason to maintain us closed any further”.

Mr Eustice instructed the BBC the government needed to comprehend things “one step at a time”.

“We are able to’t rule anything out. We know this has been a tough pandemic, a dynamic teach. We now desire to make that judgment a couple of weeks sooner than.

“This would well perfect be by then that we are able to witness the impact of essentially the most neatly-liked easement we made on 17 Could additionally.”

The timetable for relaxing Covid measures varies all around the UK. The Scottish govt hopes to decide extra restrictions on 7 June, while in Wales there is as a consequence of of be a review on 3 June. In Northern Ireland some measures were relaxed on 24 Could additionally – the next review is due on 10 June.

A final determination on whether or now not restrictions will be lifted in England will be reached on 14 June.

The Indian variant – identified as B.1.617.2 – is opinion to unfold extra rapidly than the Kent variant, which became accountable for the surge in cases in the UK over the winter.

In some areas of England – including in Bolton, Blackburn, and Sefton in north-west England and Bedford, Chelmsford and Canterbury in the South East – the Indian variant is causing the majority of infections.

image copyrightEPA

image captionFolks queued up outdoors London’s Twickenham rugby stadium for a Covid vaccine

In England, of us old over 30 are at the moment in a location to e book to win the vaccine.

Twickenham Stadium in south-west London has been modified into into a vaccine stroll-in centre for locals for the day, in a force to are attempting to increase vaccinations.

Organisers introduced in the afternoon that they would well be offering vaccines to somebody old over 18 till the discontinue of the day.

Covid-19: UK in early stages of third wave – scientist – BBC News