UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he does not want another national coronavirus lockdown, but that new restrictions may be needed.
Mr. Johnson told British media on Friday that the new measures may have become necessary because the country was already facing an “inevitable” second wave of the virus.
Government ministers were earlier in the day reported to be considering a second national lockdown, after new COVID-19 cases almost doubled to 6,000 per day. Hospital admissions incidentally rose as infection rates soared across parts of northern England and London.
That rise in cases was part of a second wave that was now unstoppable, the prime minister said.
“We are now seeing a second wave coming in…It is absolutely, I’m afraid, inevitable, that we will see it in this country,” Mr. Johnson told his audience.
Asked about whether the whole of the country should brace for a new lockdown, rather than just local restrictions, he said he did not want to get into a second national lockdown at all.
But he refused to rule out further national restrictions being brought in.
“When you look at what is happening, you’ve got to wonder whether we need to go further than the rule of six that we brought in on Monday,” the PM said, referring to the ban on gatherings of more than six people.
The UK has reported the fifth largest number of deaths from COVID-19 in the world, after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
The UK’s official number of new positive cases shot up by nearly a thousand on Friday to 4,322, the highest since May 8, after a separate ONS model pointed to about 6,000 new cases a day in England in the week to September 10.