UK ponders second COVID-19 lockdown as outbreak accelerates

Credit: REUTERS/HENRY NICHOLLS

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pondering a second national COVID-19 lockdown as the novel coronavirus outbreak accelerates.

Adds chief scientists

LONDON, Sept 21 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pondering a second national COVID-19 lockdown as the novel coronavirus outbreak accelerates.

New COVID-19 cases are rising by at least 6,000 per day in Britain, according to week old data, hospital admissions are doubling every eight days and the testing system is buckling.

"We're certainly at a very critical moment this morning," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky. "It is clear that we are just a few weeks behind what we're seeing elsewhere in Europe."

"It is very important that we do everything we can to sort of bear down on this," Shapps said. "We'll hear from others including the prime minister on the proposed next steps."

Chris Whitty, the government's chief medical officer, and Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, are due to give a briefing at 1000 GMT on Monday.

"The trend in UK is heading in the wrong direction and we are at a critical point in the pandemic," Whitty said. "We are looking at the data to see how to manage the spread of the virus ahead of a very challenging winter period."

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton)

((guy.faulconbridge@thomsonreuters.com; 07825218698;))

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