Chris Whitty Warns We're Facing “The Worst Point” Of The Pandemic As NHS Tackles "Appalling Situation"
Professor Whitty warned that the UK was now at the "worst point" of the pandemic (Image: BBC)
Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has issued a grave warning that the UK is facing “the worst point” of the coronavirus pandemic.
Whitty suggested that sticking rigorously to current rules is essential to driving down infection rates.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said: “The most important thing is that people take the current rules very, very seriously."
"We shouldn't do anything outside them. And in fact, even within them we should be doing our level best to minimise unnecessary contacts. That will help relieve the pressures in the next few weeks."
He continued: “Anybody who is not shocked by the number of people in hospital who are seriously ill at the moment and who are dying over the course of this pandemic - I think have not understood this. This is an appalling situation."
Later, he told BBC Radio 4 that one in 50 people across the UK had coronavirus, with that figure rising to one in 20 in some areas of London.
“So there's a very high chance that if you meet someone unnecessarily they will have Covid,” he explained.
The senior government adviser refused to comment on reports that ministers were considering bringing in tougher restrictions, such as making face coverings mandatory outdoors, to combat rising case numbers.
But, he did suggest that people should wear masks outside in certain circumstances.
He explained: “If people, for example, are crowded together in a queue or something outdoors, if they're really huddled together around a market stall or something, that is a risk with this virus.”
“In that situation, there might be some logic to people thinking about wearing masks.
“But a much better thing to do is to minimise going out for an unnecessary trip in the first place and stay at home unless you absolutely have to go out.”
He stressed, however, that outdoor spaces were “extremely low risk” in comparison to indoor spaces when it comes to transmission of the virus.
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe