The health secretary, Matt Hancock, has warned that a “second wave” of coronavirus is “starting to roll across Europe”, according to a write-up by PA Media.
He told Sky News:
I am worried about a second wave. I think you can see a second wave starting to roll across Europe and we’ve got to do everything we can to prevent it from reaching these shores and to tackle it.
The measures that the chief medical officer will set out later are part of that but so too are the measures we’re taking, for instance to ensure that we don’t directly bring cases back to this country where there’s a big spike in cases.
So absolutely on a second wave it is something I worry about and I worry about it because we can see it happening.
Hancock has been doing the media rounds this morning. He said ministers were investigating ways to reduce the 14-day quarantine period for new arrivals to the UK from at-risk countries when it was safe to do so.
Hancock told Sky News:
We’re always looking at how we can have the least-possible burden of the measures that we have to put into place so that is something on which we’re doing some work but we’ll only come forward with a proposal when we’re confident that it is safe to do so.
So again this is very much guided by the clinical science and the CMO (chief medical officer) will be speaking on it later today, but the broader point is that there’s a serious concern about a second wave that’s clearly now moving across Europe and we need to take action.
If that means increasing the number of days that people who test positive have to self-isolate then so be it because these measures are necessary to keep people safe.
People with coronavirus symptoms may be asked to isolate for 10 days
People with coronavirus symptoms may be asked to isolate for a total of 10 days, three days more than currently advised, after government scientists raised concern about a steady rise in the number of cases in the UK.
Jessica Elgot, chief political correspondent, reports:
The Guardian understands that the government is looking at increasing the isolation period for those who have symptoms from seven to 10 days in line with the developing science on the virus’s incubation period and how long it remains contagious.
The UK’s government’s official dashboard showed 83 Covid-19 associated deaths and 763 newly lab-confirmed infections on Wednesday, and there appears to have been a slight rise in infections as lockdown restrictions have eased.
Niall Dickson, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents NHS leaders, told MPs that NHS managers were very worried about a second wave. He said:
I would say in relation to the second spike issue or something coming, the levels of concern among our members – the people who are leading NHS trusts, who are leading in primary care and all levels in the systems – is very high.
I mean, of course, there’s real concern about winter and the compounding factors there, but also about an earlier spike. We have already mentioned exhausted staff [and] we are already trying to rebuild other services.
The health secretary, Matt Hancock, has also hinted that the length of time people with coronavirus symptoms must self-isolate for will be increased to 10 days in England, PA reports.
Hancock told Sky News:
This is a decision that’s clinically led. The chief medical officer will be setting out details later today.
I can’t steal his thunder but what I will say is we will always do what is necessary to protect people and we’re guided by the clinical judgment, by the science in this.
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