UK full lockdown: Chris Whitty hints at major Covid restrictions – ‘We must act now!’

Chris Whitty says new COVID-19 strain can spread ‘more quickly’

Professor Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, has said “we must act now” otherwise the NHS risks becoming overwhelmed. His stark message came just moments before the Prime Minister announced a nationwide lockdown during a televised address to the nation. 

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Mr Johnson was forced to implement draconian measures – including the closure of schools until mid-February – after coronavirus infections in the UK reached a record daily high.

A further 58,784 positive cases of COVID-19 were detected the latest 24 hour period.

It is the seventh successive time the daily figure has surpassed 50,000 infections.

The continued surge has prompted Professor Whitty and Medical Officers of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, to recommend the UK raises its coronavirus alert level from level 4 to the highest level 5 threshold.

They warned the NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed within 21 days “in several areas” without further action.

After the Department for Health implemented the measure, Professor Whitty gave an update on Twitter.

He said: “COVID cases are rising rapidly across the UK in large part due to the new variant.

“The NHS is treating many more COVID patients and vaccinating vulnerable citizens. NHS staff deserve our profound thanks.

“But we must act now or the NHS will come under even greater pressure.”

This is a developing news story, more to follow.

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