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Second national coronavirus lockdown could be coming as ‘bumpy autumn’ expected
August 22, 2020
The UK could be forced into a second nationwide lockdown if predictions of a "bumpy autumn and winter" due to a coronavirus resurgence prove correct.
On Friday, Government advisory group Sage announced Britain's R rate (the coronavirus reproduction number) was between 0.9 and 1.1 — the highest since restrictions were lifted in June and July.
Health experts have stressed the importance of maintaining an R rate below 1, as anything higher indicates transmission of the virus is increasing.
Senior Government sources are now warning "more nationwide measures" may be necessary.
"If it doesn't get contained it may be that some things that have been open, you need to think about whether measures need to be taken to reverse things," one told the Telegraph.
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"The strategy is to manage this through local outbreak management, but if it moves in the direction of Spain, then clearly you can see what's happening there, and in France, people are making more nationwide measures.
"It depends on the trajectory, and how quickly we can get on top of outbreaks."
A second source reportedly said: "We're looking at a pretty bumpy autumn and winter and that's going to go in the direction of increased cases and increased outbreaks."
Scientists are looking to Europe where cases are on the rise again and fearing the UK could follow.
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Spain is suffering the fastest rising caseload with 142 cases per 100,000 people.
When the Spanish government eased lockdown on June 21, daily cases were down to 150. Two months on, that number is back up to more than 3,000.
The UK currently has 11 cases per 100,000 people.
Tougher measures for areas of Greater Manchester and Lancashire came into force at midnight, with residents now advised not to socialise with anyone outside their household, and all funerals and weddings limited to just 20 people.
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There are reports a second nationwide lockdown could be imposed as the R rate in England has risen above 1.
Sir Mark Walport, a former chief scientific adviser and member of Sage, says localised lockdowns are the best way to go at the moment but we can't rule out the possibility of a second national lockdown.
"Never is very strong word," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"The whole point is to improve the local control, increase the amount of testing, give guidance to avoid that happening, but is there a situation where it could get out of control?
"Well obviously that's possible and that's why it's so important that we'll work together.
"People do understand that this is a risk.
"If it's allowed to get out of control, then there could be much more draconian measures."