SAGE experts warn UK is headed for deadly second coronavirus wave

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SAGE experts warn UK is headed for deadly second coronavirus wave

Britain could be facing a second wave of coronavirus this winter.

Two of the government’s top scientific advisors warned today (Sunday) that a second wave could arrive later this year.

Sir Jeremy Farrar, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, has said a “true second wave will come in the winter months, in October, November.”

He warned the next three months are “absolutely critical” to prevent the “national catastrophe” that has killed more than 50,000 people, repeating itself.

Former Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Mark Walport, who is also a SAGE member, warned there is a “significant risk” of a spike in infections this winter.

He suggested cold and damp conditions might help the virus thrive, just when the NHS is under more pressure from other diseases.

Boris Johnson has said there could be local lockdowns if the virus spikes – with health officials already closely monitoring an outbreak in Leicester.

And he has insisted he will not hesitate to pull up the “handbrake” if people ignore the ongoing ban on gatherings of more than six people outside.

Meanwhile, the government has set up a ‘Test and Trace’ programme to force all close contacts of positive cases into isolation for 14 days.

But an app to detect contacts who don’t know each other still isn’t up and running, and even under the current system, a quarter of people who test positive aren’t reached by contact tracers.

Sir Jeremy, director of the Wellcome Trust, said he is “worried” about a possible spike in coronavirus infections already.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, he said: “In truth, the restrictions started to to be lifted towards the end of May, the beginning of June, around that bank holiday.

“I would predict, I would guess, that we will start to see a few increases in cases towards the end of June or the first week of July.

“We’re on a knife edge, it’s very precarious the situation, particularly in England at the moment, and I would anticipate we would see an increase in new cases over the coming weeks.”

Sir Jeremy Farrar argued the next three months were “absolutely critical” in the fight against coronavirus.

He said: “Come the winter, come the reopening of schools, which is absolutely critical, we can anticipate to see rebounds and second waves.

“The question is do you start from a very low base, like in Scotland, a few dozens cases, or maybe a few hundred cases in England.

“And then you’re in a good position if there are local outbreaks that you can respond locally and you can prevent the national catastrophe that happened in March and April.

“That’s the key, using June, July and August really cleverly, making sure we have everything in place and learning the lessons from February and March.”

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