Professor Jonathan Van Tam / Robert Jenrick

UK must be ‘very cautious’ over rising coronavirus cases

Government ministers and experts have expressed concern over the rising number of coronavirus cases recorded in the UK, calling for the public to “be very cautious”.

On Monday, 2,948 new cases were recorded with Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick being quoted as saying the UK was entering a “period of particular concern” while Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van Tam concurred, describing the increase in cases as of “great concern”.

Evidence has shown a notable spike in virus cases in recent days, with some of the highest figures since mid-May having been recorded. The seven-day rate of new cases of Covid-19 in the UK has now risen to above 20 cases per 100,000 people.

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) and one of the Government’s key scientific advisers, issued a stark warning that virus cases were “increasing exponentially” at the moment.

The figures are still some way of the number of cases during the peak of the virus in Spring, where there were as many as 6,000 new cases a day – with testing also largely limited to hospital settings during that time. Estimates have suggested there could have been as many as 100,000 cases a day during that period.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Mr Jenrick described how the virus was still very much a threat and although the UK “should be able to continue to control the virus” if we followed the government guidance, there was a need to be “especially cautious” going into autumn and winter.

Professor Van Tam expressed significant concern over the latest change in coronavirus infections, adding: "People have relaxed too much. Now is the time for us to re-engage, and to realise that this a continuing threat to us."

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer pointed out that hospital admissions and deaths in the UK remained very low, with the rise in cases most prominent among those aged 17 to 21 – reiterating concerns expressed earlier in the week by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

However, Professor Van Tam added the country risked following the trajectory of some fellow EU countries if it didn’t get the rising infection rate under control.

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