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Yesterday, the government announced 22,885 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the UK’s total to 917,575. There were also 367 new deaths, bringing that total to 45,365. Daily deaths have not been so high since May.
The figures come amid calls for a “circuit breaker” lockdown which could be implemented nationwide.
The number of deaths are also ahead of a prediction made the government’s chief scientific adviser.
Sir Patrick Vallance said last month he anticipated there would be around 200 deaths every day by mid-November.
Meanwhile Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer said in mid-September: “If this continues along the path, the number of deaths directly from Covid could rise on an exponential curve, and you can move from small numbers to really very large numbers.”
He noted Britain is now heading into autumn and winter – seasons which he said would be “very likely” to benefit COVID-19.
Already, there are around 8 million people placed under the Government’s strictest coronavirus measures , or tier 3.
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This includes Greater Manchester, Liverpool, and Nottingham. Warrington, in Cheshire, moved into the highest level of restrictions yesterday.
In a coronavirus briefing last week, the Prime Minister voiced concern about a return to a national lockdown.
Mr Johnson said there are people who think “we need now to lock the whole place down from John O’ Groats to Lands’ End. Turn the lights out, shut up shop.”
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He said: “I have to say I don’t believe that is the right course now. Not when the psychological cost of lockdown is well known to us and the economic cost.”
The Prime Minister added the UK would continue with “a regional and local approach”.
On the other hand, Mr Johnson also said he opposed lifting all restrictions for economic benefit, which he called “an extreme laissez-faire approach”.
He said: “We can’t do that because alas the maths is inescapable. We would face many thousands more deaths.
“And an uncontrolled expansion in the number of Covid patients would mean that the NHS would have even less capacity to treat heart patients and cancer patients and to deal with all our other medical needs.”
It remains to be seen what further restrictions will be imposed.
The UK’s new high figures come after government ministers warned coronavirus restrictions should be the same across the whole of the UK for Christmas.
They added it would be “inevitable” that some people would ignore any rules against travelling to see family over that period.
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey called for a ‘four-nations summit’ and said: “It therefore falls on you and your counterparts to work across Governments to explore workable solutions that can enable travel to happen safely.”
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