Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A large sign to thank people for coming to London's West End and to stay safe by observing social distancing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus in London, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020.

Alastair Grant/The Associated Press

COVID-19 infections are rising so persistently in the United Kingdom that unless something can be done to reduce infections, the “reasonable worst case” scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded, scientists said on Friday.

Britain has recorded more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day on average over the last week, but the government has resisted a new national lockdown even as France and Germany reintroduce countrywide restrictions.

British government scientists said that numbers were heading in the “wrong direction”.

Story continues below advertisement

They said the “reasonable worst case” planning scenario for the winter of reaching 500 deaths a day and a toll of over 80,000 is in danger of being exceeded unless infection numbers are cut, according to papers published by the government’s science advisers on Friday.

In the paper, dated Oct. 14, advisers said that the exceeding of the worst case scenario might continue for three or four weeks if infections were brought down. But since then, they have risen further.

New COVID-19 cases in England increased by around 51,900 each day last week, up nearly 50% on the week before, an official survey said on Friday.

That suggested that the incidence of new infections was still rising steeply and had not levelled off, in contrast to the previous week’s survey.

“The U.K. was one of the hardest hit countries in the world in the first wave. It would be particularly tragic if we repeat this experience,” Professor James Naismith of the University of Oxford said, adding that the figures suggest 1% of the population of England had COVID-19.

The “R” number was 1.1-1.3, down from 1.2-1.4, the UK’s Government Office for Science said. That means on average every 10 people infected will infect between 11 and 13 other people.

Though the dip in reproduction “R” number showed that local measures were having an effect, government scientists caution that numbers of infections will not fall unless it is brought below 1.

Story continues below advertisement

Foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Friday said a national lockdown in England was not inevitable as he restated his faith in the government’s localized approach.

“We’ve seen some evidence since we started putting in place this tiered approach that the rate of increase has slowed,” Raab told BBC TV.

The government has adopted a three-tiered system of restrictions for local areas. On Friday the government said West Yorkshire would enter the top tier of restrictions from Monday. Scotland, Wales and North Ireland run their own policies on fighting the pandemic.

Adding to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s headaches, a poll by Ipsos MORI indicated falling support for the government. It found that the opposition Labour party had overtaken Johnson’s Conservatives, with Johnson himself recording his lowest net satisfaction as prime minister.

Labour were on 42%, with the Conservatives on 37%.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies