Dr Hilary Jones has warned that another national lockdown might be needed as coronavirus cases are rising ‘exponentially’ across the UK.
Cases of the virus are beginning to increase again, with many areas in the North East now going into regional lockdown and reports claiming curfews may be put in place elsewhere.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain on Thursday, Dr Hilary stressed that another national lockdown is ‘not wanted by anyone’, but may be necessary if the new ‘rule of six’ – restricting social gatherings to just six people both indoors and outdoors – isn’t effective in controlling the spread of Covid-19.
‘Nobody wants [another national lockdown], but we’re seeing 4000 cases [of coronavirus] in the last 24 hours, numbers are increasing quite rapidly,’ Dr Hilary said.
‘In certain ares of the North East we’re seeing restrictions, cases are increasing exponentially right now and that will translate, if we’re not careful, to more people in intensive care.’
‘While we don’t want national lockdown,’ Dr Hilary stressed. ‘We might see regional curfews and we might see people restricted on how much people can travel.
‘We need to keep this under control because if things get out of hand we’ll definitely be needing another national lockdown.’
The medical professional also cleared up confusion surrounding new government advice encouraging people to phone 111 before going straight to A&E.
Host Kate Garraway pointed out that doing so is already considered the appropriate protocol, with Dr Hilary admitting the new campaign ‘seems a bit like an oxymoron’, but ‘actually it does make sense’.
‘Why? People have been abusing A&E inappropriately,’ Dr Hilary explained. ’14 million people have gone to A&E and haven’t seen a GP first or called 111 first.’
‘What they want people to do is call 111 first, discuss their problems and 111 are now being given extra funding to help with taking calls and they will be giving people a time slot for A&E.’
Dr Hilary explained such measures will help the health system to run more efficiently and reduce the ‘exposure’ of people forced to attend A&E.
‘For people with genuine emergencies, you would still call 999,’ he said. ‘For everything else, 111 have been given extra resources to respond to your call efficiently.’
Confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK have now reached over 378,000, while the number of deaths as a result of the virus have surpassed 41,600.
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.