Top scientist warns UK could see a second wave of coronavirus this winter
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Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of health research foundation the Wellcome Trust, has said that the next three months are “absolutely critical” in the fight against coronavirus in the UK.
He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that there could be a “very nasty rebound” of coronavirus in the winter, if the country does not use the next few months “sensibly”.
Appearing on the show on Sunday, June 28, Sir Farrar 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.”
It comes as pubs, restaurants, cinemas and other leisure facilities are preparing to reopen from Saturday, July 4, and the two-metre social distancing rule reduced to one-metre.
Chief medical officer for England, Chris Witty, has said that a second wave of coronavirus could be “more severe” than the first – and could spread more rapidly if it arrives in winter.
Asked when the country may see a second spike in cases, Sir Farrar commented: “We’re seeing second spikes now in continental Europe, in Germany, and I think we will see rebounds.
“It will be in certain situations, we’ve had outbreaks in meat packing factories across the continent and indeed in the UK.
“I think a true second wave will come in the winter months, in October, November.”
There are currently more than 310,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK.
A total of 43,514 people have died after testing positive for the virus.