The Prime Minister is under pressure to “act now” to bring in a new national lockdown, as experts warn drastic action is required to avoid large numbers of coronavirus deaths and to “save Christmas”.

It is being widely reported today (October 31) that Boris Johnson could announce a new shutdown on Monday, which could take effect on Wednesday (November 4).

Although some things could be different about Lockdown 2, it's now thought a short circuit breaker might not be possible, with a longer shutdown on the cards.

The Government wanted to persist with its system of Tiers to impose local lockdowns, in areas most hit by the virus.

But expert advice has apparently forced a rethink in the corridors of power.

Professor Jeremy Farrar, an infectious diseases expert and Sage (the scientific advisory group for emergencies) member, said on Friday evening (October 30) that to bring coronavirus under control “we have to act now”.

He tweeted: “The best time to act was a month ago but these are very tough decisions which we would all like to avoid. The second-best time is now.

“The sooner we get on top of the disease, reduce transmission, R<1, the sooner we can get our society back to normal and the economy back on track.”

Here are some of the reasons top scientists have urged Mr Johnson to “act now”:

1 – Deaths predicted to hit 500 per day or possibly even 4,000 a day

The virus has now spread so widely, it’s expected the death toll will once again reach depressing daily highs within weeks.

Documents seen by the BBC suggest one model is predicting a worst case scenario of 4,000 deaths per day later this winter.

A further 274 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Friday, the Government said, while a further 24,405 lab-confirmed cases were recorded in the UK.

England’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, had previously discussed ‘worst case scenarios’ when the Government announced its system of local lockdowns – it’s now thought those grim predictions will be exceeded.

Salisbury Journal:

Without a national lockdown, all parts of England are on course to eventually end up in Tier 3 restrictions anyway, experts believe, while deaths could potentially hit 500 per day within weeks.

More than a dozen regions in England will move into Tier 2 restrictions on Saturday (October 31), including Carlisle, after an announcement was made on Friday evening.

The other areas are: the East Riding of Yorkshire, Kingston-Upon-Hull, North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, Dudley, Staffordshire, Telford, the Wrekin, Amber Valley, Bolsover, Derbyshire Dales, Derby City, South Derbyshire, the whole of High Peak, Charnwood, Luton and Oxford.

2 – ONS says number of cases rising ‘steeply’

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) infection survey found cases “continued to rise steeply” in the week ending October 23, with an estimated 568,100 people in households becoming infected.

Scientists are confident the current spread of the virus is seeing around 50,000 people per day catching it in England.

Local lockdowns do not appear to be working.

Salisbury Journal: Daily confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK. Credit: PA GraphicsDaily confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK. Credit: PA Graphics

3 – Only chance of ‘saving Christmas’

A range of public health officials and scientific experts have warned the Government the only chance of enabling families to meet up at Christmas is to lockdown, The Guardian reported on Friday night (October 30).

The prospect of being isolated in our homes at the most family focused time of the year has perhaps focused minds in Government.

It would be incredibly unpopular – even if it seemed necessary to keep people safe – to impose harsh restrictions over the festive period.