UK at ‘tipping point’ in coronavirus battle as millions face being banned from mixing

The UK is at a tipping point in the battle against coronavirus similar to the one faced in March, one of the the country’s top scientists has said.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam warned more deaths will follow the rise in cases in recent weeks.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows an estimated 224,000 people have the virus and hospital and intensive care admissions from Covid-19 rising.

Prof Van-Tam said the R number – the rate at which the virus is spreading from person to person – was well above one in every NHS region in England, suggesting “widespread transmission” across the country – not just the north.

Scientists estimate that the doubling time in the UK for new infections is between eight and 16 days and is even faster in some areas, he added.

However he insisted history can still be prevented from repeating itself.

He said the best way to keep transmission low and stop the NHS being overwhelmed was for people to follow self-isolation guidance, wash their hands, wear face coverings and social distance.

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