DREADED regional lockdowns could soon make a comeback in the UK, an expert has warned.
Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King's College London, said localised rules may be necessary as we enter winter, when viruses circulate easier.
While the UK is seeing generally flat Covid rates, Scotland’s coronavirus cases continue to climb and hospitals are feeling the strain.
Prof Spector, who leads the ZOE Covid Symptom Study app, says this shows we “need to start looking regionally” at how we deal with the virus.
Localised restrictions have been used before, down to postcode level.
But a more widespread approach has been used in each home nation in 2021.
Prof Spector said: “If we look at the picture across the country, you can see most regions are staying flat or declining slightly which is fantastic news.
“The only region going up is Scotland, and it's high and getting higher, and it's the highest ever incidence rate we've seen since we started collecting our records.
“It means we can't be complacent and also means we need to start looking regionally, rather than globally, because each region will have different pressures on its health service.
“Some sort of regional restrictions might be coming as we approach flu season in some areas. But I think it's going to be a very different picture around the country.
“I hope I’m wrong, and this is a localised problem to Scotland. We don't really understand why Scotland has done so badly recently, and this hasn’t had the same effect on England and Wales.”
Prof Spector also discussed:
- Cases have come down this week, but there are still 52,000 people catching symptomatic Covid each day, according to ZOE.
- Around one in 90 people currently have Covid.
- Major music festivals appear to not have drastically changed the overall picture, having been the centre of outbreaks in recent weeks.
- Just under 900 people are estimated to be getting long Covid each day.
- If current death numbers continue at 135 per day, it would mean an extra 15,000 deaths by the end of the year.
Scotland has an estimated 70,000 active cases right now.
By population size, this equates to around one in 78 people in Scotland, only just behind the East Midlands, with one in 75 (64,000 cases).
Up to 124 people per 100,000 are catching Covid each day in Scotland, followed by Wales with up to 118 people per 100,000.
It is home to a number of the UK's Covid hotspots, with the top 13 all in Scotland, according to Government data.
Cases began surging in the country once schools reopened, with graphs showing a drastic spike in a matter of days.
The same effect was feared to take place in England and Wales when classrooms went back a little later, this week. But Prof Spector said there is no evidence this has occurred, yet.
Prof Spector said Scotland’s hospitals are at a “pinch point” of becoming under severe pressure due to Covid demands.
Government data shows 103 people we admitted to Scotland’s hospitals yesterday compared to its record of 240.
For England the figure is 831 compared to a peak of 4,134.
However, Covid cases in children are 30 times higher than they were this time last year.
Good Morning Britain's Dr Hillary said the trend in cases "is gradually upwards" in the UK.
But he added: "Unless there's 100,000 cases a day, we're not facing any further restrictions or lockdowns at the moment… however hospitalisations are increasing and we need to keep across that.
"As we see more cases in younger people we will see higher proportion of them becoming sick with Covid and long Covid."
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