‘We’re at a critical point’ - Chief medical advisor to spell out potential scenarios this winter as coronavirus cases rise

PUBLISHED: 09:11 21 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:39 21 September 2020

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty.

PA Wire/PA Images

The country is set to face a “very challenging winter” says the country’s chief medical advisor who will speak to the nation to address the rise in coronavirus cases.

Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific officer will speak at a televised briefing on Monday morning.

Professor Whitty says the country stands at a “critical point” in the coronavirus pandemic following a surge in infections.

More: Your verdict on second coronavirus lockdown for Norfolk

Another 3,899 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK were announced on Sunday, while a further 18 people died within 28 days of testing positive, bringing the UK total to 41,777.

The advisers will explain how the virus is spreading in the UK and the potential scenarios that could unfold as winter approaches, using data from other countries experiencing a second spike.

Professor Whitty is expected to say: “The trend in the UK is heading in the wrong direction and we are at a critical point in the pandemic.

“We are looking at the data to see how to manage the spread of the virus ahead of a very challenging winter period.”

More: How many new coronavirus cases are there where you live?

Among the measures being considered by ministers is a temporary two-week “circuit break”, with tighter restrictions across England in an attempt to break the chain of transmission.

The prime minister spent the weekend with senior ministers and advisers discussing what action to take as the rise in the number of new cases showed no sign of slowing.

Over the weekend, the government announced anyone in England refusing to obey an order to self-isolate could be fined up to £10,000, in the same week the rule of six came into force,

Ministers were reported to be split on how far any new restrictions should go.

Health secretary Matt Hancock refused to rule out a second national lockdown in England, if people fail to follow the social distancing rules.

He said he feared cases could go “shooting through the roof” with more hospitalisations and more deaths.

Norfolk’s MPs called for Norfolk and Waveney to be treated differently due to its significantly lower rates of infection and receive “bespoke solutions” to the creeping national rise in cases.

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