Coronavirus lockdown rules are set to stay in place until next March after a three-month second peak of the virus, leaked documents reveal.
A doomsday report for a "reasonable worst case scenario" set out by the government's SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) sets out a grim prognosis for the winter ahead with a further 85,000 deaths from Covid-19.
The nation's top scientists, led by Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance, have laid out a horrifying vision for the winter.
The document put together by the experts, seen by the Spectator, said they were working on the "core assumption" it would be a "difficult autumn followed by a large winter peak".
In the scenario the number of fresh infections doubles every two weeks.
Lockdown restrictions would have to be placed on the country to "reduce non-household contacts to half of their normal pre-March 2020 lockdown levels".
Schools would stay open to try and shield children's education from further damage from the pandemic. They were closed when the initial lockdown was introduced in March.
The lockdown rules would need to be "sustained until the end of March 2021" while some restrictions would be in place until April or longer.
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The experts predict there could be 500 daily deaths for at 'least three months' with a shocking peak of 800 a day by late February, the document reportedly says.
Another horrifying outlook in a study commissioned by Sir Patrick suggested there could be as many as 120,000 deaths over the winter.
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Last month Sir Patrick and Professor Whitty suggested there could be 50,000 cases a day by mid-October if measures were not taken to stop the spread of Covid-19.
The pair are thought to be arguing with government ministers for stricter lockdown restrictions in England ahead of Christmas.
A Downing Street source said: "We all want to see families being able to celebrate Christmas and enjoy the holidays together this year.
"That's why our regional approach is so important – we must act quickly to introduce further necessary measures that are targeted in areas where prevalence of the virus is highest.
"The most important thing people can do between now and Christmas is to remember how crucial social distancing is to stopping the spread of this virus and following all the local rules in their area."
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