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The latest analysis from the elite team of Government advisers shows the UK could have 25,000 coronavirus patients in hospital by the end of November – and 500 deaths per day. On Tuesday the UK reported its highest daily death count since May 27 with 367 fatalities, bringing the total tally to a grim milestone as it passed 60,000.
No10’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has predicted the second coronavirus wave will be deadlier than the first.
While deaths are predicted to peak at a lower level than seen earlier this year, the new high is expected to last for much longer.
The group said the peak could be prolonged for months on end as they called on the Government to take more drastic action.
Sage members, including the chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, want to see more stringent measures introduced as Britons head towards winter.
A source told The Telegraph: “It’s going to be worse this time, more deaths.
“That is the projection that has been put in front of the Prime Minister, and he is now being put under a lot of pressure to lock down again.”
A spokeswoman for the Government said ministers were receiving advice from a “wide range of scientific and medical experts”.
She called the latest figures “concerning”.
The Chancellor has repeatedly spoken out against the idea of another nationwide lockdown, insisting localised measures were the way to go.
Just two weeks ago, Mr Sunak said a return to a full lockdown would wreak havoc on the country’s economic health.
Speaking in the Commons, he said while ministers must take action to save lives and protect the NHS, they must also “acknowledge the stark reality of the economic and social impacts of another national lockdown.”
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In an interview on Wednesday, Environment Secretary George Eustice said a national lockdown to control coronavirus is not necessary because “the measures we’re taking are certainly holding it back” and scientists are unsure how much it could achieve in two weeks.
Speaking on Times Radio, he said the Government’s three-tier system has held back the natural R rate of the virus of between 2.7 and 3 to the current level of between 1.4 and 1.5.
Mr Eustice said: “Sage themselves, when they posited that (a circuit-breaker) as one option, highlighted that it was uncertain how much it would achieve in two weeks and whether it would be enough, and also that there would be lots of negative consequences of such an intervention.”
Mr Eustice was unable to give a timeframe for how long tiered restrictions are expected to last, but said he believes that local lockdowns have been working.
His comments come Nottinghamshire was highlighted as the latest region of England to brace for Tier 3 measures.
The “very high alert” will be imposed on the entire county at one minute past midnight on Friday.
The rollout will come after Nottingham City, Broxtowe, Gedling and Rushcliffe were already under Tier 3 rules.
Professor Neil Ferguson, whose modelling prompted the UK-wide lockdown in March, has warned that Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions in areas across England are “unlikely to cause daily cases and deaths to fall rapidly”.
He said modelling suggests this could leave the country with “high levels” of COVID cases, demand on health care and deaths “until spring 2021”.
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