Face masks and working from home 'could be reintroduced by mid-August' amid rising Covid cases
Covid restrictions could return in under a month, as experts to the UK government warn of another deadly pandemic peak in late August.
Dubbed ‘Freedom Day’, 19 July saw face masks become an advised measure as opposed to law, as well as workers returning to offices and social distancing outside limitless.
Experts from SAGE, the independent health advisory group to Whitehall, have now suggested a u-turn could take place in mid-August if hospital cases continue to rise.
‘Humble in the face of nature’
The advice comes as latest data from July 14 showed there were 745 new patients admitted a day, with 4,500 people going into hospital in the last seven days.
SAGE scientists have pleaded with ministers to take onboard the increasing cases and take action to avoid the NHS becoming overwhelmed again by late August.
Current projections show the UK could be experiencing between 1,000 and 2,000 daily hospitalisations and 100-200 deaths a day could happen by the end of August, unless Borin Johnson takes action to reimpose restriction measures.
SAGE suggests reintroducing face masks and work from home in mid-August, to limit the spread of the virus before the peak is reached.
Prime Minister Johnson has warned Brits that using their common sense is critical in ensuring the country can resume normality, as he stressed in his latest media briefings that the pandemic is “far from over.”
As he appeared via Zoom from isolation at Chequers, he refused to rule out reapplying measures if a third wave looms, adding he is "humble in the face of nature".
From 19 July, NHS workers also do not need to self-isolate if ‘pinged’ by track and trace, as the NHS attempts to stay afloat while coping with the inevitable rise in cases which is expected as socialising and events take place unrestricted.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at Public Health England, said: “The past 18 months have been tough on us all. Now restrictions have been lifted, many of us want to get back to doing what we enjoy most.
“However, we must do so with caution and remain sensible. We are in a wave of infections that has seen an increase of over 40% in the past week, there is still a risk of severe illness for many people.
"We can all reduce the risk by getting both doses of the vaccine, testing ourselves twice a week at home and spending more time outside or in well ventilated rooms. Let’s all remain vigilant.”