Boris Johnson is holding talks with his Cabinet this lunchtime amid warnings from scientists about the new type of COVID-19 and acute diseases.
Government advisers have warned ministers that they believe the new variant of COVID-19 is spreading faster than previous series, and that there is a risk of a dilemma in public opinion. correcting the benefits of the vaccine rollout over the coming months, Sky News understands.
The SAGE advisory group is expected to be convened on Monday to work out a series of recommendations on how Phase 3 restrictions could be strengthened due to increased movement of the new movement.
But according to reports in the Telegraph and The Sun, prime ministers met late Friday night to discuss whether faster action is needed.
Both newspapers suggest this could include travel restrictions on the South East and London, with a press conference announcing that such measures could come as early as Saturday.
The government has not yet responded to the reports.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), today warned that the new pressure is “a real cause for concern” and that “working urgently now” essential ”.
He tweeted today: “The new strain of COVID-19 is a cause for concern & a real cause for further concern & warning. Research is ongoing to understand more, but action is urgent. is now vital. There is no part of the UK & the world that should not be concerned. As in many countries, the situation is precarious. “
He said the “impact of increased interactions over the Christmas period is a cause for great concern” amid the new variability and increase in disease.
The new weight of Covid-19 is a cause for concern & a real cause for added concern & warning. Research is underway to understand more, but it is imperative that you take urgent action now. There is no part of the UK & worldwide that should not be a concern. As in many countries, the situation is precarious.
– Jeremy Farrar (@JeremyFarrar) 19 December 2020
Up to three households can mix in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland between 23 December and 27, but the border is two families in Wales.
Sir Jeremy said that while the pace of progress on vaccines, treatments and diagnoses has been “remarkable” and should be noted, he warned against “being complacent”, saying: “We need to to be honest. This pandemic is not over. They haven’t changed the foundations yet. “
He said: “Maybe we’re going into an unexpected level.”
It is understood that government scientific advisers see no evidence that the new snoring is causing a more serious disease, or that they would oppose routine vaccinations.
However, there are concerns that the announcement of effective vaccines in recent weeks could have a detrimental effect on compliance with regulations, including self-isolation requirements.
A member of the scientific advisory panel earlier told Sky News that the existing defense system in England did not appear to be effective in preventing an increase in cases, and that tighter measures were expected to be needed. .
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Professor John Edmunds said: “I think we need to look at these measures and maybe the tightening, we’ll be real. It’s awful to say but we’re in. very difficult situation. “
Identify the “new variant” of COVID-19 – which is believed to be causing the faster spread in the South East announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock this week.
More than 1,000 cases of snoring have been detected, “mostly in the south of England,” Mr Hancock told the House of Commons.
He said the new variable had been spreading faster than the current pressure of it corona-virus and is believed to fuel the “very sharp, abstract rise” in issues across the South East.
But he tried to allay fears, saying there was currently no evidence that the new variant would not respond to COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out nationwide.
And, he said, “there was currently nothing to suggest that this variant is more likely to cause serious disease”.
The health secretary said the rapid rate of the new spread could make this variable the strongest in the country.
“The best way to describe it is to think of a large oak tree, and then a small branch that will break from that tree. Then that branch is going to be the main stock and the main artery of that tree. , “he explained.
He said government scientists were studying the new variant at their Porton Down facility.
A spokesman for the prime minister said he was unable to comment immediately on reports of possible tensions.
Mr Johnson said on Friday he hoped England would not have to enter the third lockout after Christmas, as several experts have warned it is possible.