Boris Johnson has warned of even tougher coronavirus measures if Britain fails to win its latest battle against the disease.
The country is at a “critical moment” in the fight against Covid-19, said the Prime Minister.
At today’s # 10 meeting, the UK Chief Medical Officer also addressed the nation, saying that hospital admissions and ICU cases “are going in the wrong direction” and that we “have a long winter ahead of us”.
The Prime Minister insisted that “the best way to protect the NHS, save lives, keep our children moving in school and in business is to follow the rules wherever we live”.
Mr Johnson said, “I want to thank everyone for the fantastic national efforts we are seeing and continue to see.
“And no matter how impatient we may be, no matter how full we may get, there is only one way to do it – through collective indulgence, common sense, and a willingness to sacrifice for the safety of others.”
He said he would provide further updates at a “critical moment” and warned: “I need to be clear that if the evidence calls for it, we will not hesitate to take further action which I fear more expensive than what we do put into effect now.
“But if we work together now, we will give ourselves the best possible chance to avoid this result and avoid further measures.
“I know some people will think we should give up and let the virus run its course, despite the enormous death that it could potentially cause.
“I have to say I deeply disagree and I don’t think that’s what the British want, I don’t think they want to throw the sponge in, they want to fight and defeat this virus and that’s what we’re going to do . “
The Prime Minister said a continued spike in cases and deaths would mean the NHS could not provide its normal services.
He stated, “Even as we are fighting Covid, it is important that people get all the treatments they need for other conditions. However, it must be clear that no one can get such care when the NHS is overwhelmed by Covid . Therefore we. ” must now crush this virus so that we never get to that point.
“And I’m absolutely confident that with more tests, better treatments and, of course, the prospect of a vaccine, we can do it.”
He said the UK was better prepared to tackle the second wave it is now experiencing.
He said, “I wish I could tell you tonight what the impact of this package is [of measures] has already started to appear, but it will take time to finish.
“Yesterday we saw the biggest increase in daily cases since the pandemic started, another 7,108 today. We also saw a tragic increase in daily deaths, with 71 again yesterday and again today.
“These numbers show why our plan is so important. We must stick to it together, and we should stick to it with confidence, as there are many ways we can be far better prepared than in March.
“We are on the right track to achieve our goal of being able to carry out 500,000 tests per day by the end of October. We are already exceeding the number of tests per capita that are carried out in Germany, France and Spain. We could have over 2,000 beds be available in seven Nightingale hospitals and we will be able to go further if necessary. “
Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer, said the number of people in the hospital had increased, especially at hotspots, although the numbers remained at much lower levels than in early April.
“We caution that the direction of travel is in the wrong direction for both hospitals and intensive care units, especially in those areas where cases have been increasing rapidly,” he said.
In a sharp warning, Prof. Whitty added: “We have a long winter ahead of us”.
The latest numbers showed another 7,108 laboratory-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, down slightly from 7,143 on Tuesday.
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The government also said an additional 71 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday. That brings the total in the UK to 42,143.
Separate figures released by the UK statistical authorities show that there have now been nearly 57,900 deaths recorded in the UK with Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate.
The government said 312 Covid-19 patients were in mechanical ventilation beds as of Tuesday and 2,252 Covid-19 patients are currently in hospital, as reported on Monday.
Prof. Whitty said the “low number of deaths now” compared to the peak of the outbreak “shouldn’t assure us that we won’t be in rather difficult places in a relatively short time – certainly in the regions where we are seeing significant growth at the moment when pressure on the NHS could come sooner rather than later if we can’t get over it really quickly. “