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August 10, 2020

UK could ‘head back into lockdown next month’

Top Story

August 10, 2020

LONDON: A full lockdown could be in place in the UK again by the end of the month, a former government chief scientific adviser has said.

Sir David King, who has set up a scientific body called Independent Sage to shadow the UK government's advisory group, warns the UK is nowhere near being able to reopen schools safely, foreign media reported. He estimates the R number - the number of people every one person with the virus infects - will rise by 0.5 with all schools open. A rise of 0.5 would put the R number above one and would mean the number of infections would start to grow rapidly and again overwhelm the NHS, costing thousands of lives, unless lockdown measures were brought back in again.

In the South West, the coronavirus growth rate has risen higher than any other area of England, the latest government data shows.

The South West's growth rate – the percentage change in the number of cases each day – has reached between minus three per cent and plus three per cent, according to figures released August 7.

This is the highest range in England. The next highest is the North West, where the range is between minus three per cent and plus one per cent.

Sir David, 80, told the Mirror: “The government has a month to deal with the level of infectivity as it stands now. Reopening schools should be a priority, but we believe we are nowhere near the point where it can be done safely.”