The British government is considering imposing a new national lockdown in England after its scientific advisors warned that hospitalizations and deaths from the resurgence of the coronavirus could soon surpass the levels seen at the outbreak’s spring peak.
Epidemiologist John Edmunds, a member of the government’s scientific advisory group, said cases were running significantly above a reasonable worst-case scenario drawn up by modelers early this month.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has introduced a system of local restrictions for England based on levels of infection. But scientists say it has not been enough.
The Times of London says Johnson could announce a month-long lockdown as soon as Monday, though the government says no decisions have been made.
Any new lockdown would likely see non-essential businesses close and people told to stay mostly at home, though schools would remain open.
The UK is recording more than 20,000 new coronavirus infections a day, and government statisticians say the true figure is far higher. On Saturday the country is likely to surpass 1 million confirmed cases since the outbreak began.
The UK has Europe’s highest coronavirus death toll at more than 46,000.