Return to tiers will see coronavirus infections rise, scientists warn

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Returning to the tiered system of coronavirus restrictions in England after the lockdown comes to an end will see infections rise again, scientists have warned. Any hopes of families gathering at Christmas will also be dependent on the reproduction rate of the disease staying below one for “some time”, according to documents released by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).

The next normal

A document from the science advisers, dated 4 November, said:

If England returns to the same application of the tiering system in place before November 5, then transmission will return to the same rate of increase as today.

Other papers from late October suggested that in a scenario where prevalence of infections is “low and controlled”, and where NHS Test and Trace “can play a big role in containing outbreaks”, there is scope for a loosening of social distancing rules over Christmas for a “limited time”, the experts said. For this to happen, “rapid and decisive interventions” must push R well below one and “maintain that for some time”.

However in other “high and controlled” cases scenarios there would be “little to no scope for loosening of social distancing rules over Christmas”.

Devolved nations

Welsh leaders said guidance will be issued ahead of the festive period to keep people safe. Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething told a Cardiff press conference:

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We’ll be looking at whether we can do things about the numbers of people who meet indoors together because often – whether you celebrate Christmas as a religious event or not – it’s still a time of the year when people want to gather together and it’s often more difficult to do so outdoors than in.

HEALTH Coronavirus Wales
(PA Graphics)

Scottish figures also warned of the potential need for “more dramatic action” in some areas to curb the spread of infections.

Deputy first minister John Swinney confirmed the Scottish government is talking to local leaders in both the Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Lanarkshire health board areas about the prospect of moving them from Level 3 to Level 4 – the highest level of restrictions in Scotland’s five-tier system.

Such a move would close non-essential shops as well as bars, restaurants, gyms, hairdressers, and visitor attractions.


Elsewhere, the government said a further 376 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus (Covid-19).

As of 9am on 13 November, there have also been a further 27,301 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, down from 33,470 on 12 November.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Ministers confirmed that care home residents in some areas of southern England will be able to receive regular in-person visits as a new testing pilot is rolled out. The pilot launching on 16 November will take place in 20 care homes across Hampshire, Devon, and Cornwall. But the scheme will be rolled out to other regions before Christmas, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

The tests – offered to one family member or friend for each resident – could put an end to what health secretary Matt Hancock labelled as “heartbreaking” restrictions on visits, when used in combination with other protective measures such as PPE.

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  • Show Comments
    1. The Rolling Seven day average graph above says it all. Why its far worse now than it has ever been since the beginning of the Coronavirus emergence. No wonder people are losing faith with the political authority to do anything but just talk the talk stumble on the walk.

    2. So bloody what if alleged ‘infections’ rise. This lockdown is predicated on totalky fabricated and falsified figures. For F***ks sake deal with it. 99.973% of the population either won’t get it or they will survive it thanks to the most powerful thing in the world which is the human body’s immune system. People die of a lot of things and this isn’t one of them. Geez get real and get some proper bloody scientific facts.

    3. ONS week 12 March 2020: “The provisional number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 20 March 2020 (week 12) was 10,645; this represents a decrease of 374 deaths registered compared with the previous week (week 11)”
      ( There lots of interesting bullet points that follow on from the one above. Within a week we were into ‘sclockdown’, rumours of positive Covid cases were transferrred out of hospitals and into care homes for certain and possibly hospices and other private establishments. In the ONS report for week ending 3rd April 2020 there are two comments that may be connected: “The 16,387 deaths that were registered in England and Wales during the week ending 3 April is the highest weekly total since Week 2 (early January) 2000.”; and, “Of deaths involving COVID-19 registered up to Week 14, 90.2% (3,716 deaths) occurred in hospital, with the remainder occurring in hospices, care homes and private homes.” 12,671 vulnerable people, if they had not been in a facility where live Covid was senty in via NHS referrals, may have survived. Although one cannot know their state of health before exposure. Having gone back to ONS figures for April and May I do not recognise them, which isn’t a surprise because they were provisional figures. So where are all these, so-called, definite numbers coming from that appear in our daily newspapers ( sorry spewspapers). Obviously every test can produce a ‘case’ and it must be very easy to record ‘cases’ from test figures – but the mortality rate for this virus is very very very low. It is a convenient way to disguise the failure to deal with the financial crisis of 2007/8 and the spirally cost of the so-called ‘war on terror’ and justify some more ‘austerity’ for the common folk.

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