Great Britain

Coronavirus - all you need to know as scientists to warn UK at 'critical point'

UK 'weeks behind' second wave hitting Europe

The UK is just ‘weeks behind’ the second coronavirus wave hitting Europe, according to a government minister.

“We’re certainly at a very critical moment this morning,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky.

“It is clear that we are just a few weeks behind what we’re seeing elsewhere in Europe.

“It is very important that we do everything we can to sort of bear down on this.

“We’ll hear from others including the prime minister on the proposed next steps.”

Chris Whitty to warn 'UK heading in wrong direction' ahead of 'very challenging winter'

In a televised briefing today the chief medical officer for England will say the country faces a “very challenging winter”, with the current trend heading in “the wrong direction”.

Boris Johnson 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.

It is thought the Prime Minister could set out new measures in a press conference as early as tomorrow.

Prof Whitty, who will appear alongside the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, will explain how the virus is spreading in the UK and the potential scenarios that could unfold as winter approaches.

They will draw on data from other countries such as Spain and France, which are experiencing a second surge, to underline how their experience could be replicated in the UK.

Prof 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.”

Professor Chris Whitty will speak to the nation today (Image: REUTERS)

Top scientists to address nation at 11am as London lockdown looms

The UK’s top scientists will address the nation at 11am as the country reaches a ‘critical point’ in its battle against coronavirus.

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance will make a televised speech today explaining how Covid-19 is spreading across the country.

It comes as London Mayor Sadiq Khan warned of a London lockdown to control spiralling infections.

A spokesman for the Mayor of London said: “The situation is clearly worsening.

“Sadiq will meet council leaders tomorrow and any London-specific measures will be recommended to ministers following that.

“The Mayor wants fast action as we cannot risk a delay, as happened in March. It is better for both health and business to move too early than too late.”

Meanwhile, people in England who refuse an order to self-isolate face being fined up to £10,000.

Fines will initially start at £1,000 rising to £10,000 for repeat offenders and for “the most egregious breaches” including those who stop others from self-isolating, like an employer who asks a staff member to come into work in violation of an order.

The penalties are in line with those for people who fail to quarantine for 14 days after returning to the UK from a country not on the list of low-risk nations.

The new regulations will come into force in England on September 28, although ministers are discussing with the devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland about extending them UK-wide.

The heavy penalty is the latest in a series of financial punishments introduced by authorities aimed at deterring would-be rule-flouters amid a recent sharp upsurge in coronavirus infections.

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