Professor Jonathan Van-Tam says the country is “running into a headwind” as “winter in the NHS is always a difficult period”.
England has reached a tipping point similar to the first wave of coronavirus but is still in a position to stop history repeating itself, the country’s deputy chief medical officer has said.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the best way to keep transmission low and stop the NHS being overwhelmed was for people with symptoms to self-isolate and get a test, and for people to wash their hands, wear face coverings and maintain social distancing.
He also said that the country now has much better testing capabilities, knows more about the disease, and has better treatments than during the first wave.
It comes as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon defended her government’s actions to suppress the virus north of the border, where tougher restrictions have been imposed in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley, Lothian and Ayrshire and Arran – affecting more than three million people.
Asked if she had lost control of the virus in Scotland, Ms Sturgeon told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday show: “No, absolutely not, we’re working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
She said that while the virus was “spreading a little bit faster”, the number of cases per 100,000 are the lowest in the four nations.
“That is because over the summer we suppressed the virus… That doesn’t mean we can be complacent about it, or not take it very seriously. It shows we were right to do that over the summer and I think we’re right now to act quickly and decisively to try and stop that increase in cases.”