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UK faces second hard national lockdown if we don’t follow COVID-19 rules, adviser warns

Written by on 13 September 2020

The UK faces another national lockdown “in short order” unless people abide by new COVID-19 restrictions, a government adviser has told Sky News.

Peter Openshaw, a professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, told Sophy Ridge on Sunday the public “must act fast” to stop the spread of coronavirus.

He said: “I think everyone is in agreement that we really need to act very quickly now in order to prevent this from growing exponentially and that’s the main point, is that we must act fast because it is so much harder to get this sort of thing under control if you delay even a few days.

“This is potentially going to be quite dangerous now at this particular moment.”

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Professor Peter Openshaw has warned Britain must act now to avoid a second lockdown

Professor Openshaw, who is an expert in respiratory medicine, stressed the importance of data that suggests the virus reproduction (R) rate has increased to 1.7.

Asked about the new “rule of six” and whether the government needs to look at further restrictions including more working from home or curfews, he said that it would “cause pain and suffering for us to all go back to some degree of lockdown”.

He added: “But if we don’t do this now we are going to be right back in hard lockdown in short order, that’s the only way we have at the moment for controlling this but there are other things on the horizon.

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“We need to act quickly. This isn’t a game. We shouldn’t be out trying to party as hard as we can in the run up to Monday’s lockdown.

“We should all be thinking about what we can do to slow down the spread.”

How 'rule of six' COVID-19 restrictions will work around the UK

How ‘rule of six’ COVID-19 restrictions will work around the UK

Asked about when he thinks a vaccine could be available, he said he is hopeful there will be one by the winter of 2021/22.

Prof Openshaw said: “I do think we will probably have positive results of at least one of these vaccine trials by Christmas.

“That means with rapid scaling up we could have a rapid vaccine scheme over the next nine months.”

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said that another nationwide lockdown remains a “nuclear option”.

But he told Sky News the government wants to take a “range of measures”, including local restrictions and enhanced testing, to avoid a second shutdown.

Mr Buckland was quizzed on the “rule of six” that will limit how many people can meet in England from tomorrow.

Robert Buckland still
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Justice Secretary Robert Buckland says another lockdown remains a ‘nuclear option’

He said that “while social occasions are important”, they “must take second place” so Britain can prioritise schools, universities and the economy.

The minister added: “With the good sense of the British people we can get the balance right.”