Scientists have warned that the country remains “on a knife edge” and should observe “constant vigilance” to prevent a second wave of coronavirus cases as lockdown measures are eased.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, one of a group of scientists and experts who are advising the government during the pandemic, admitted he is “worried” about a possible spike in infections ahead of the reopening of pubs, restaurants and hairdressers next month.
He warned that there could be a “very nasty rebound” of coronavirus in the winter if the UK does not use the next few months “sensibly”.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, the member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said: “In truth, the restrictions started to be lifted towards the end of May, the beginning of June, around that bank holiday.
“I would predict, I would guess, that we will start to see a few increases in cases towards the end of June or the first week of July.
He added: “We’re on a knife edge, it’s very precarious the situation, particularly in England at the moment, and I would anticipate we would see an increase in new cases over the coming weeks.”
Sir Mark Walport, the former government chief scientific adviser, said the UK needs to maintain “constant vigilance” as it eases out of lockdown.
Speaking to Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, he said the government faced a “fine balancing act” between managing the virus outbreak and the health harms caused by a damaged economy.
Asked if the virus could come back in winter when the NHS is under more pressure, Sir Mark said: “That is obviously a significant risk.”
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