Chris Whitty to warn UK 'heading in wrong direction' at coronavirus briefing

20 September 2020, 22:00

The UK's chief medical and scientific advisers will hold a public briefing tomorrow
The UK's chief medical and scientific advisers will hold a public briefing tomorrow. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

The Government's chief advisers will hold a coronavirus briefing tomorrow and warn the UK is "heading in the wrong direction" as cases surge.

Tomorrow morning Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the Chief Scientific Adviser, will update the country on the seriousness of the outbreak and how it is spreading between towns.

The pair are also expected to lay out measures which could be adopted to help bring the infection rate under control.

They will also present data on other countries who are experiencing a second wave and how this could be replicated in the UK.

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At the 11am briefing, the Professor Whitty is expected to say: “The trend in UK is heading in the wrong direction and we are at a critical point in the pandemic.

“We are looking at the data to see how to manage the spread of the virus ahead of a very challenging winter period.”

Boris Johnson could reportedly make a speech on any further restrictions on Tuesday.

In the past week, almost 30,000 new cases have been reported in the UK, but the true number is expected to be higher as the NHS Test and Trace system struggles to cope with demand and labs face delays in processing tests.

Almost 10 million people in total will be under local lockdown restrictions by Tuesday, but there are strong suggestions of London being placed under similar measures in just days - meaning that almost one in three people in the UK would be under stricter rules.

Sadiq Khan's office said it was better to "move too early than too late" as Covid-19 cases begin to rise in the region.

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A spokesperson for the Mayor said: "The situation is clearly worsening. Sadiq will meet council leaders tomorrow and any London-specific measures will be recommended to ministers following that.

"The mayor wants fast action as we cannot risk a delay, as happened in March. It is better for both health and business to move too early than too late."

Meanwhile, regional leaders are calling on the Government to arrange an emergency Cobra meeting as a "matter of urgency".

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham joined the calls and said places should be given for all English regions alongside Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as the country struggles the contain the outbreak.