The most dangerous time of the coronavirus pandemic in Britain is yet to come before vaccine rollout has an impact, Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty, warned Monday.
The next few weeks will be the worst of the pandemic for the National Health Service (NHS), he told the BBC, urging the public to minimise all unnecessary contact with others.
“There’s a very high chance that if you meet someone unnecessarily they will have COVID,” he said, noting that any unnecessary contact could be a potential link in a chain of transmission that will lead to a vulnerable person.
According to Whitty, there were more than 30,000 people in hospitals in England alone with COVID-19, compared to about 18,000 at the peak last April.
“Anybody who is not shocked by the number of people in hospital has not understood this at all. This is an appalling situation,” he said.
Another 54,940 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 3,072,349, according to official figures released Sunday.
About 563 people have died within 28 days of a positive test, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain to 81,431, the data showed.
The latest figures were revealed a day after Britain surpassed the grim milestones of 3,000,000 cases and 80,000 deaths on Saturday.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Sunday warned that flexing the lockdown rules could be fatal, urging the public to stay at home amid surging coronavirus infections.
“Every time you try to flex the rules that could be fatal and staying at home is the most important thing we can do collectively as a society,” Hancock said.
England is currently under the third national lockdown since the pandemic began in the country.
To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.