Britain could face up to 50,000 new coronavirus infections daily by next month unless it takes tougher measures to curb the spread of the virus, the country’s chief scientist said on Monday.
“At the moment we think the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days,” Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said in a speech ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s expected announcement of new measures this week.
If that doubling continued, Britain could have 50,000 cases per day – more than 10 times the current level – by mid-October and some 200 deaths per day by mid-November, Vallance said.
“We should see this as a six-month problem,” Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, said alongside Vallance.
Whitty said the four main ways to reduce the infection rate were: reducing individual risk; self-isolation of infected people and their contacts; limiting social interactions; and investing in drugs, vaccines and diagnostics.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned earlier that Britain faces a “tipping point” in a second wave of coronavirus infections.
“If everybody follows the rules then we can avoid further national lockdown,” Hancock told the BBC.
Johnson on Sunday announced plans to fine people in England who repeatedly breach social distancing rules up to 10,000 pounds (13,000 dollars) from September 28.
He is reportedly considering reintroducing a ban on people from different households meeting and restrictions on pub opening hours, possibly during a two-week school holiday next month.