LONDON — Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned Thursday that the country had reached a “perilous moment” amid the coronavirus pandemic, as cases of infection and hospitalizations continue to rise.
“I am very worried about the growth in the number of cases, especially in the northwest and the northeast of England, parts of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and parts of Yorkshire,” Hancock said, adding that hospital admissions in the northwest of England were “doubling approximately every fortnight.”
More than 17,000 new cases of infection were recorded in Britain on Thursday – a huge increase on the 6,914 cases reported last Thursday.
Recent government data also shows that the number of patients in England on ventilation beds had increased by 30 percent in in just one week.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson continues to face pressure from lawmakers to outline a plan for dealing with a severe second wave of the virus and has long come under criticism from lawmakers, scientists and citizens for not acting fast enough to contain the outbreak on British soil.
On Friday, opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer urged the conservative government “to get a grip” of the escalating situation amid the threat of another national lockdown.
Conservative party lawmaker Gillian Keegan also expressed grave concern Friday, warning that the country was in an “unbelievably serious situation,” and called on the government to clearly communicate plans for possible new restrictions in the country’s coronavirus hot spots.
New measures regarding local lockdown measures in England are expected to be announced soon, British media reported this week.
Britain has the highest death toll in Europe, with more than 42,000 lives lost to the virus.
The Washington Post