Coronavirus: New strain 'significantly more transmissible' says expert
The Prime Minister is under pressure to put the UK into a second national lockdown as the country struggles to cope with the rising number of coronavirus cases. Health experts are calling for a tightening of measures to be brought in as the NHS struggles to cope with a surge in virus cases linked to a new highly transmissible strain. It is not clear how Boris Johnson will move forward with further restrictions, but Infectious Disease Modelling Expert Professor John Edmunds has insisted “significantly more” restrictions are “inevitable”
We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.
Speaking to Channel 4, Professor Edmunds said: “The hospitals are now at a very serious place, about a quarter of the total hospital beds in the country are now taken up with covid patients.
“That doesn’t leave much room for manoeuvre now at all.
“We do need to do something pretty urgently. The NHS can’t cope with these sorts of levels of infection and with the cases still continuing to rise the NHS really can’t be coped with for very much longer.
“So we will have to take some additional action, I think that is inevitable.
JUST IN: Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine: Brian Pinker, 82, becomes first person to get British-made jab
He continued: “This strain is considerably more transmittable and that means we have to take significantly more action to in order to try to stop its transmission.
“It is roughly 50 per cent more transmissible than the strains we were dealing with before and we were only just coping with those.
“So we will have to do a lot more to bring cases down, unfortunately.”
The strain, which was identified at the beginning of December in the UK, has been linked to a surge in new cases alongside skyrocketing death rates that are now nearly as high as they were in the first peak back in spring.
READ MORE: Boris Johnson could plunge Britain into national lockdown TODAY as pressure mounts
Asked by Channel 4 host Alex Thomson whether the science pointed to the need for a second national lockdown, Prof Edmunds replied: “That would buy you some time.
“What do you with that time, if you fritter it away then it hasn’t really gained you very much.
“What we have to do is roll out the vaccine far quicker than we have in the past.
“I do think we need to take more steps, the vaccine is the way out of this and I think we need to be really radical at expanding the vaccination programme as quickly as possible.”
Tier 5 lockdown: When will Tier 5 be announced?
POLL: Should ‘covidiots’ who party or protest coronavirus rules get harsher punishments?
‘That is absolute nonsense!’ Andrew Marr slapped down by Boris in fiery Covid clash
The last time England was placed under a national lockdown measure was through the month of November last year.
This was repealed in December with the aim of allowing restrictions to be relaxed over Christmas, though the plan was scrapped for many after cases surged and a new strain was detected.
It is not clear how Mr Johnson will move forward with further restrictions, though he warned of a “tough period ahead” yesterday.
It comes as coronavirus cases across the UK are surging, with the prospect of another national lockdown looming.
A further 54,990 cases were reported on Sunday, with 454 new deaths confirmed.
Source: Read Full Article