Experts have warned that the number of coronavirus cases in the UK will rise considerably in the next week, making current figures seem small by comparison.
As more than 50,000 new Covid cases were reported across the UK yesterday (3 Jan) for the fifth consecutive day, senior doctors have said that the current caseload is “fairly mild” compared with what is expected.
Speaking to the BBC, president of the Royal College of Physicians, Professor Andrew Goddard, said, “All hospitals that haven’t had the big pressures that they’ve had in the South East, and London and South Wales, should expect that it’s going to come their way.
“This new variant is definitely more infectious and is spreading across the whole of the country. It seems very likely that we are going to see more and more cases, wherever people work in the UK, and we need to be prepared for that.”
Will there be further Covid restrictions?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has not yet announced any additional Covid restrictions beyond the current tiered system. However, he has not ruled out bringing in more measures.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Johnson confirmed that there would “probably” be a need for more restrictions.
He said: “What we are doing now is using the tiering system, which is a very tough system… and, alas, probably about to get tougher to keep things under control.”
Labour leader Keir Starmer has called for another national lockdown, similar to the first lockdown in March, as the virus is “clearly out of control”.
He said: "It's no good the prime minister hinting that further restrictions are coming into place in a week or two or three. That delay has been the source of so many problems.
"So I say bring in those restrictions now, national restrictions within the next 24 hours. That has to be the first step to controlling the virus."
He added: "We can't allow the prime minister to use up the next two or three weeks and then bring in a national lockdown which is inevitable. Do it now."