Coronavirus: Rise in UK cases a great concern, Van Tam says
The latest “big change” in coronavirus infections across the UK is of “great concern”, England’s deputy chief medical officer has warned.
Prof Jonathan Van Tam said people have “relaxed too much” over the summer and “we have got to start taking this very seriously again”.
If not, the UK will have “a bumpy ride over the next few months”, he warned.
He said that infections among younger people in EU countries had later filtered through to older age groups.
France and Spain are among a number of European countries that have seen a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, after lockdown restrictions were eased and testing for the disease was ramped up.
On Monday, Spain became the first country in western Europe to record 500,000 infections, after tallying more than 26,000 new infections over the weekend.
Prof Van Tam’s comments came as more parts of the UK are to face tougher restrictions following a rise in the number of cases.
On Sunday UK authorities announced 2,988 new cases – the highest figure since 22 May, while a further 2,948 cases were reported in the 24 hours to 09:00 BST on Monday.
Stricter rules on home visits will be extended to two more areas in the west of Scotland from midnight.
In Wales, the county borough of Caerphilly is to be placed under a local lockdown from 18:00 BST on Tuesday.
“People have relaxed too much, now is the time for us to re-engage, and to realise that this a continuing threat to us,” Prof Van Tam said.