Sage expert warns UK may suffer deadly second coronavirus wave in winter

Coronavirus SAGE experts warn UK is headed for deadly second wave this winter
Sage scientist Sir Jeremy Farrar has warned of a second wave (Picture:Rex/Getty)


Scientists have warned the country is ‘on a knife-edge’ and needs to remain vigilant to prevent a second wave of coronavirus cases in the winter.

Sir Jeremy Farrar, who is a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), admitted he was ‘worried’ about a possible spike in infections ahead of the reopening of pubs, restaurants and hairdressers on July 4.

The director of the Wellcome Trust warned there could be a ‘very nasty rebound’ of coronavirus in the winter if the UK does not use the next few months ‘sensibly’.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, he said: ‘In truth, the restrictions started to be lifted towards the end of May, the beginning of June, around that bank holiday.

‘I would predict, I would guess, that we will start to see a few increases in cases towards the end of June or the first week of July.’

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 28: Military personnel attend to people at a walk-in mobile Covid-19 testing centre in Spinney Hill Park on June 28, 2020 in Leicester, England. In a television appearance on Sunday, British Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed the government was considering a local lockdown after a spike in coronavirus cases in the city. (Photo by Darren Staples/Getty Images)
Military personnel attend to people at a walk-in mobile Covid-19 testing centre in Leicester (Picture: Getty)


Sir Jeremy added: ‘We’re on a knife-edge, it’s very precarious the situation, particularly in England at the moment, and I would anticipate we would see an increase in new cases over the coming weeks.’

He argued the next three months were ‘absolutely critical’ in the fight against coronavirus in the UK.

He said: ‘Come the winter, come the reopening of schools, which is absolutely critical, we can anticipate to see rebounds and second waves.

‘The question is do you start from a very low base, like in Scotland, a few dozens cases, or maybe a few hundred cases in England, and then you’re in a good position if there are local outbreaks that you can respond locally and you can prevent the national catastrophe that happened in March and April.

‘That’s the key, using June, July and August really cleverly, making sure we have everything in place and learning the lessons from February and March.’

Beachgoers enjoy the sunshine as they sunbathe and play in the sea on Bournemouth beach in Bournemouth, southern England, on June 25, 2020. - Just days after lockdown ended and European travel restrictions were lifted, many were staying home in the cool as a heatwave hit the continent with temperatures touching 40 degrees Celcius. Britain was bracing for a flood of visitors to its beaches with the heatwave expected to last until Friday and temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s in the south and centre of the country. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
The pubic has been criticised for flocking to beaches (Picture: Getty)


He said doctors had got better at treating patients with Covid-19, but it still represented a ‘very, very nasty infection’.

Sir Jeremy added: “You’ve got to move faster than the epidemic, you’ve got to move ahead of the pandemic.

‘Once you get behind it, you have exponential growth, you lose track of it and that’s what happened across Europe, particularly in the UK, in March and April of this year.’

He argued the government’s test, trace and isolate system needed to be ‘fully functional’ by September to help the fight against coronavirus.

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