Monday briefing: 'A critical point has been reached'

Monday briefing: 'A critical point has been reached'

Good morning and welcome to this Monday briefing with me, Alison Rourke. This morning the country’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, and chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, will appeal directly to the public in a rare televised address at around 11am, warning that a “critical point has been reached” with coronavirus. The pair are expected to warn of a “very challenging winter period” and urge people to exercise caution. They are likely to compare the UK to France and Spain, which have seen a surge in cases translate into increasing hospitalisations and deaths. Yesterday, Matt Hancock warned Britain had reached a “tipping point” and another national lockdown had not been ruled out. London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, will meet council leaders today, with a spokesperson saying it was “better for both health and business to move too early than too late”. It comes as fears in Whitehall grow that the virus growing unchecked has been exacerbated by shortcomings in the government’s testing system. As cases escalate, NHS bosses have drawn up plans for certain hospitals to be designated coronavirus-free zones, in a tacit admission that the March shutdown denied some patients vital care. Prof Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, writes for the Guardian that it is “comically depressing that the UK government, one of the richest in the world, does not have a functional testing system that returns results within 24 hours”. As further restrictions loom, his main advice is to get outside as much ...
More on: www.theguardian.com