Health Secretary Sajid Javid gave the UK a grim warning that coronavirus restrictions could be back for Christmas and the daily infection rate could reach more than 100,000 if people fail to take precautions.
The warning comes as coronavirus infections in England reach nearly 50,000 a day, prompting the new health secretary to hold the first coronavirus press conference in Downing Street for five weeks.
The latest figures show England recorded 49,139 cases on Tuesday, with 869 hospitalizations and 179 deaths. The total of 954 deaths in the last seven days was 21 per cent higher than the previous week, while there was an 11 per cent increase in the total of 6,074 hospital admissions in the seven days.
As winter approaches, coronavirus cases are expected to rise around the world with the World Health Organization warning that the pandemic will spread by 2022. So, are other countries also considering lockdown?
Are coronavirus infections rising outside the UK?
Latvia has become the first country to impose a lockdown in Europe’s new Covid wave as Prime Minister Krysjanis Karins said the country’s health system was “at risk”. The lockdown will last for four weeks from October 21 to November 15 and will include shops, restaurants, schools and entertainment being closed. New cases in Latvia increased by 49 percent.
Only 54 percent of Latvian adults have been fully vaccinated, far below the EU average of 74 percent, EU figures show.
Latvia’s coronavirus rate is the highest in Europe with 13,133 cases per million over the past fortnight, while in the UK it is 8,004.
Romania and Ukraine have also seen their intensive care units under intense pressure as coronavirus cases there reach record numbers.
Romanian authorities confirmed on Tuesday that the country’s coronavirus infection and death rate has hit a daily record high with 18,863 new infections and 574 deaths in a single day. It was the first time Romania had crossed 500 deaths in a day.
While Romania has yet to impose a complete lockdown, the government has imposed mild restrictions since late September, including mandatory masks for outdoor and indoor venues such as restaurants operating at low capacity and only for those who are vaccinated.
Russia is also moving closer to a complete lockdown. Moscow authorities announced a new ten-day lockdown on Thursday, as the city’s hospitals struggle to cope with a huge increase in Covid admissions and deaths. On the same day, Russia recorded a record daily high of both coronavirus-related deaths and new COVID-19 infections. The official death toll of 227,389 is by far the highest in Europe.
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a week of paid leave to curb the spread of infections.
Belgium’s government warned on Thursday that the country could be on the cusp of another big surge in COVID-19 cases, despite its high vaccination rate.
Like the UK, the Netherlands has a higher number of people (83 per cent) who are fully vaccinated, but it is also facing increasing coronavirus pressure. The rate of coronavirus in the Netherlands jumped 44 percent in the week to Tuesday, forcing the government to cut routine care to cope with rising cases.
Its coronavirus rate is lower than the UK’s 2,531 per million over the past fortnight and 49 deaths were recorded on Tuesday compared to 189 in the UK on the same day.
Sajid Javid said the situation in the UK has not yet reached a point, prompting the government to activate its Plan B.
But he added: “If at any point we feel the pressure is becoming untenable, we will not hesitate to take action.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /