Boris Johnson has warned Britons that the “only way” to avoid a new national lockdown is to follow the latest coronavirus rules.
England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said there had been a significant uptick in the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care.
“The direction of travel for both hospitals and intensive care is going in the wrong direction, particularly in the areas that have seen rapid increases in cases,” professor Whitty said.
Speaking at the 100th coronavirus briefing from Downing Street since the beginning of the pandemic, the prime minister made repeated pleas for the public to follow both national and local restrictions.
And he refused to rule out further measures to slow the spread of transmission.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, also warned: “This is headed in the wrong direction, there is no cause for complacency.”
Mr Johnson said ministers and scientists would have to “watch what’s happening” with their aim to avoid another national lockdown, as was enforced in the spring.
“What we are not doing at the moment is going back to the situation we were in in March,” Mr Johnson said.
“And, I really don’t want to do this.
“I don’t want to go back to a national lockdown where the overall guidance is stay at home, that is not what we are saying.
“We want to keep the economy moving. We want to keep young people, pupils in education.
“But the only way we can do that is if we all follow the guidance and depress the virus.”