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Covid could cause ‘hundreds of thousands of deaths’, claims Matt Hancock despite case staying flat and R rate slowing

MATT Hancock today claimed coronavirus could cause “hundreds of thousands of deaths” – despite cases staying flat and the R rate slowing.

The Health Secretary’s stark warning comes as a major study has suggested the R rate has in fact dropped to 1.1.

⚠ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

PA:Press Association
Matt Hancock has warned of ‘hundreds of thousands of deaths’[/caption]
Tory Philip Davies urged Mr Hancock to stop presiding over a ‘nanny state’

Mr Hancock warned “hundreds of thousands of deaths” could follow if coronavirus is allowed to “rip” through the country again.

It came after Tory Philip Davies urged Mr Hancock to “start acting like a Conservative” and stop presiding over a “nanny state”.

Mr Davies told Mr Hancock that the 10pm curfew is a “socialist approach which is serving no purpose at all apart from the further collapse of the economy”.

‘NANNY STATE’

He said: “Is the Secretary of State aware of the damage the arbitrary 10pm curfew is doing to pubs, restaurants, bowling alleys and casinos?

“Is he aware of the jobs that are being lost, all just to see people congregating on the streets instead and shop staff getting more abuse?

“When will the Secretary of State start acting like a Conservative with a belief in individual responsibility and abandon this arbitrary, nanny state, socialist approach which is serving no purpose at all apart from the further collapse of the economy and to erode our freedoms?”

Mr Hancock replied that he “profoundly” disagrees with Mr Davies as he believes in “individual responsibility and the promotion of freedom, subject to not harming others”.

The Health Secretary added: “So it is perfectly reasonable to make the argument that we should just let the virus rip, I just think that the hundreds of thousands of deaths that would follow is not a price that anyone should pay.”

The study found the R rate has fallen to 1.1 from Sep 18 - Sep 26
The study found the R rate has fallen to 1.1 from Sep 18 – Sep 26
The study found the North West had the most positive tests from Aug 22 - Sep 7
The study found the North West had the most positive tests from Aug 22 – Sep 7

Local lockdowns were thrown into chaos today after a mayor declared war on tough new restrictions.

Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston fought back after Mr Hancock announced the latest measures in a Commons address.

A ban on different households meeting will be introduced after a spike in infections.

It will be illegal to meet in settings, such as pubs and restaurants, in the Liverpool City Region, Warrington, Halton and Hartlepool.

Incidence rates in Liverpool, St Helens, Knowsley, Halton and Warrington are above 170 per 100,000.

Today’s news means around 20million people across the UK are now living under local lockdown restrictions.

It comes as UK coronavirus cases rose by 6,914 – a slight decline from yesterday’s increase of 7,108.

‘REDOUBLING EFFORTS’

A study by Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori appears to show that the infection rate has fallen from 1.7 to around 1.1 based on early results.

This has been calculated based on tests carried out on more than 80,000 volunteers in England between September 18 and 26, The Daily Mail reported.

The Imperial study is looking at the levels of infection by testing more than 150,000 participants each month over a two-week period.

The full findings from the volunteers who were tested between September 18 and October 5 will be detailed next week.

Experts have said the early findings suggest that new cases are slowing down and that the newer measures such as the rule of six and curfews seem to be working.

Professor Paul Elliott, director of the programme at Imperial, said the numbers of people who now have the virus has “grown substantially” but the growth appeared to be slowing.

“We’ve seen the doubling time – from the last time we did the survey to now – has reduced to about 10 days … from seven to eight days, so that has been slowing,” he said.

“In the very recent data, it does seem to be that increases seems to be turning down, but from high levels of the virus.

“So we really need to get the virus turning down and the R value going below one and we haven’t yet seen that.

“At the moment, we seem to be still at very high levels of the virus, and we do seem to still have a bit of an upward trajectory, but that very fast increase in the virus seems to have slowed and that’s very encouraging.”

Prof Elliott urged people to “redouble” their efforts to follow the guidance, adding the country is in “a very critical period right now”.

He said there was “wide uncertainty” around the reproductive number – the R number – which the study estimates to be around 1.1.

R represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect.

 

 



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