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‘UK facing surge in coronavirus infections, difficult variants’


The COVID-19 crisis will cause a “long rain shadow” and there will “definitely” be another surge in infections, England’s Chief Medical Officer Prof. Chris Whitty has said.

Prof. Whitty, who spoke on the anniversary of the UK’s first lockdown, warned of “bumps and twists on the road” as the country attempts to recover from the pandemic.

He also highlighted the “very big job of work” in preventing “lifelong” problems related to the effect of lockdowns, such as increased deprivation and non-COVID health issues.

Addressing the Public Health Conference 2021 organised by the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH), Whitty told delegates: “The path from here on in does look better than the last year.”

But, predicting a further spike in infections at some point and possible vaccine supply problems, he added: “There are going to be lots of bumps and twists on the road from here on in.

“There will definitely be another surge at some point whether it’s before winter or next winter, we don’t know.

“Variants are going to cause problems, there will be stockouts of vaccines and no doubt there will be multiple problems at a national level but also at a local level – school outbreaks, prison outbreaks, all those things that people are dealing with on a day-to-day basis.”

A year on from when Prime Minister Boris Johnson first told the public to “stay at home”, Prof. Whitty said the government knew “right from the beginning the lockdown was going to have really severe effects on many people’s health”.

Britons trying to travel abroad without a reasonable excuse could be fined up to £5,000 under the legislation, which will come into force on Monday if approved by MPs.

International travel was already banned in most circumstances under the lockdown rules but the law is being tweaked for when the stay-at-home order lifts on March 29.

Under the new laws, non-essential foreign travel will be banned until June 30 – unless ministers bring in new rules to speed up the timetable.

A Government taskforce is looking at when foreign travel could resume and it is expected to report to Boris Johnson by April 12.


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