More restrictions are expected to be announced in the UK in the coming days, with the UK’s COVID Alert Level upgraded from “Level Three” to “Level Four” on Monday.
The change of the alert level recommended by the Chief Medical Officers came after the government’s chief scientific adviser warned that the UK could be facing 50,000 new Coronavirus cases a day by mid-October if further action is not taken to tackle the spread of the virus.
On Monday, 4,368 daily COVID-19 cases were announced in the UK, another rise on data from recent days. Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the UK is now at “a tipping point”.
In a statement, the Chief Medical Officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said Coronavirus cases are now “rising rapidly and probably exponentially in significant parts of all four nations”.
The move to Level Four of the UK’s COVID Alerts System means that transmission of the virus is high or rising exponentially. Under Level Three of the system, there had been the relaxation of some restrictions. The rise in alert level is likely to see some restrictions reimplemented, or implemented in different ways.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to chair a Cobra emergency committee meeting on Tuesday, before then making a statement to MPs in the House of Commons about the next steps in tackling the virus.
It is expected that new restrictions will be announced on Tuesday by the Prime Minister, though exactly what will be announced is uncertain. It seems possible that extra restrictions may be placed to limit social interactions, such as through banning gatherings in private homes and gardens or placing new restrictions on the hospitality sector – though it is believed that schools will remain open and a more complete lockdown as seen earlier this year is unlikely.
On Tuesday, restrictions already announced are set to come into effect in some parts of Northern England, West Yorkshire, the Midlands and parts of South Wales with outbreaks of COVID-19.
Boris Johnson spoke to leaders of the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on Monday – a call which came after concerns raised by First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford on Friday about the lack of engagement between Downing Street and the leaders of all four nations during the pandemic.
In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned that additional restrictions will ‘almost certainly’ be implemented in the country in the coming days and as cases rise in many parts of the UK, many members of the public are now expecting further restrictions to effect them soon.