Coronavirus: Britain at 'tipping point' similar to first wave, senior scientist warns

England's deputy chief medical officer says winter colds and flu season means deaths will rise with increase of Covid infections

People drink outside a bar in Soho, London, ahead of the 10pm curfew pubs and restaurants are subject to in order to combat the rise in coronavirus cases in England, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (Kirsty O'Connor/PA via AP)
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Britain faces a Covid-19 “tipping point", with the second wave of infections building to a critical point, a top scientist has warned.

In the coming week, millions of people will be ordered to remain in their local areas in a new clampdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce new restrictions that will apply in the north of England where the number of daily infections is increasing sharply.

Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, England's deputy chief medical officer, said the coming winter season of colds and flu meant deaths would inevitably rise with the increase of Covid infections.

“Sadly, just as night follows day, increases in deaths will now follow on in the next few weeks," Prof Van-Tam said.

“We are in the middle of a severe pandemic and the seasons are against us. Basically, we are running into a headwind.

"In our national fight against Covid-19, we are at a tipping point similar to where we were in March. But we can prevent history repeating itself if we all act now."

A new lockdown system for England will probably be publicised on Monday as Britain is suffering on average 14,000 new cases a day, treble the amount from the first wave in spring.

Mr Johnson will make a statement in the House of Commons to clarify the rules and regulations introduced since infections started to climb last month.

Many areas of northern England have constraints on social life, including households mixing and a 10pm bar and restaurant curfew.

But the new Tier 3 highest level for England will go beyond existing restrictions with hospitality venues closing and no social contact outside households.

Mayors and council leaders in affected areas have been briefed on the planned restrictions by Whitehall officials.

Liverpool is expected to be the first city with the new restrictions as concern mounts over the rising cases and intensive care beds in the city.

Meanwhile parents at Eton, the prestigious private school, are “furious” after Form 6 pupils were sent home to isolate, accusing the school of “spreading the virus around the country”.

It is understood that the Lower Sixth, and some in other year groups, were told to leave the £42,000-a-year boarding school and isolate at home while they had lessons online.

The unusual move came after a large number of Etonians from the Lower Sixth, aged 17, tested positive for the disease.

Authorities decided that it would be safer for the rest of the 1,300 pupils to go home.