London-England is on track for about 50,000 coronavirus cases a day by mid-October and a surging death toll unless the public gets serious about preventive action, top UK advisers warned on Monday.
Rates of infection in England are replicating the strong resurgence of Covid-19 seen in France and Spain, roughly doubling every seven days, government chief medical officer Chris Whitty told a media briefing.
“We are seeing a rate of increase across the great majority of the country,” he said, urging the public to respect stricter guidelines on social distancing. “This is not someone else’s problem. It’s all of our problem.” The briefing previewed an expected announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week detailing government action to flatten the exponential coronavirus curve heading in to winter, when regular respiratory diseases typically spike.
Johnson last week said Britain was already seeing a second wave of Covid-19 and the government introduced new restrictions for millions across northwest, northern and central England. People in England who refuse to self-isolate to stop the spread of coronavirus could face fines of up to £10,000 ($13,000, 11,000 euros) under tough new regulations.
Johnson said that from September 28, people will be legally obliged to self-isolate if they test positive or are told to by the National Health Service (NHS) tracing programme.
Whitty said it was essential for the public to play its part in preventing the NHS being overwhelmed in the colder months. “We are in a bad sense literally turning a corner, although only relatively recently. At this point the seasons are against us,” he said at the briefing, alongside chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance.