Official data today indicated that the Covid crisis in Britain appears to be decreasing, as fears increase about the impending winter wave.

Department of Health bosses posted 44,985 new coronavirus infections, up 3.6 per cent on last week’s total of 43,423. 

The single-digit increase in cases comes seven days after infections spiked by at least 10%. This suggests that the recent uptick may be slowing. 

And the number of people dying with the virus fell to 135 today. It was down 8.8 per cent on last Saturday’s toll of 148.

The figures come after a Government scientific adviser said he is ‘very fearful’ there will be another ‘lockdown Christmas’.

Professor Peter Openshaw, a member in the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Groups CO-CIN and SAGE subgroup CO-CIN said that current death rates and case numbers are unacceptable.  

SAGE scientists, however, said it was “highly unlikely” that the NHS would become infected this winter.

The Group for England predicted in their modeling that the combination of vaccine-acquired immunity as well as natural protection would be enough for hospitals to maintain rates below the levels of the second wave. 

Yesterday, Boris Johnson refused to comply with calls for tighter restrictions from health leaders despite rising levels of infection.

 Health Secretary Sajid Javid said new cases could reach 100,000 a day but Downing Street insisted there was still spare capacity in the NHS and that Plan B would only be activated if it came under ‘significant pressure’. 

It was revealed that Brits may need three Covid vaccines to travel next summer, but that under-50s will not be able to get a booster until after Christmas.

Modelling by SAGE predicted that the combination of vaccine-acquired immunity and natural protection would be enough to keep hospital rates below levels seen in the second wave. Even in the most pessimistic scenarios, the group estimated that daily Covid hospital admissions would not rise above 1,500. More optimistic models had them peaking at below 1,000 in winter. The above charts are based on modelling by Warwick University and look at how quickly people go back to pre-pandemic social contacts. It was based on the booster doses given 'sustained' immunity

SAGE models predicted that the combination vaccination-acquired immunity, natural protection would suffice to keep hospital rates below the levels of the second wave. Even in the most pessimistic scenarios of the group, they estimated that daily Covid hospital visits would not rise above 1,500. They would be below 1,000 in winter, according to more optimistic models. These charts are based upon Warwick University modelling and show how quickly people can return to pre-pandemic social connections. It was based on booster doses of’sustained immune system’.

Other SAGE modelling took into account 'repeated' waning from booster doses, and projected that hospital admissions could breach levels seen during the second wave in January under the worst-case projections

Other SAGE modelling also took into consideration’repeated’ waning from booster dosing and projected that hospitalizations could exceed levels seen in January’s second wave.

Boris Johnson insists there is nothing to indicate there will be another winter lockdown. 

Boris Johnson today stated that there is “absolutely nothing” to indicate that there will be another winter lockdown. 

As he was being questioned about the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country, the Prime Minister stated that a shutdown of the entire country is not possible. 

After Tory MPs, hospitality chiefs and other leaders urged the PM to reject calls from health bosses for the Government’s Covid-19 Plan B to be activated, his comments were made. 

Conservative MPs are concerned that continuing with the fallback strategy of telling people to work at home and to wear masks would lead to another lockdown.   

They insist that there should not be any return to draconian curbs and claim that the Government should not be ‘bullied” by health leaders into imposing new rules.

Hospitality bosses warned against imposing restrictions, telling PM that many bars, restaurants, and pubs would ‘go the wall’. 

The hospitality industry is concerned that even light touch restrictions could hit bookings and put ‘Christmas at risk’.

The Government has maintained that the triggering of Plan B is not imminent and that the focus is currently on the rollout of vaccine booster shots. 

But ministers struck an ominous tone this morning as they said the blueprint is ‘there for a reason’.

It’s as follows:

  • Rishi Sunak stated that booster Covid vaccines would prevent another lockdown. This is contrary to the advice of health experts, who warned that the NHS could become overwhelmed this winter.
  • Top scientists urged the Government to rollout Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine as soon as possible because it may prove a game-changer in No10’s efforts to persuade hesitant adults to get jabbed; 
  • Investigations showed one of Britain’s richest men claimed up to £6million in furlough money despite saying he had ‘borrowed nothing from the Government during Covid pandemic’.

According to the Government, an additional 135 people had died in the 28 days following testing positive for Covid. The total UK population is now at 139,361.

Separate statistics from the Office for National Statistics have shown that 164,000 deaths have been registered in the UK since Covid was mentioned in the death certificate.

Professor Openshaw, Imperial College London, said to BBC Breakfast, “I’m very scared that we will have another lockdown Christmas. If we don’t take action soon, I’m very worried.”

“We know that public health measures require immediate action. There is no reason to delay.

“If you delay, you should take more severe actions later. You must respond immediately if you want to manage things.

“We all want a wonderful Christmas as a family where we can all get together again.

“If this is what we want, then we need to put these measures into place now to bring down transmission rates so we can actually get together to see one another over Christmas.”

Professor Openshaw said that it was unacceptable for this to continue at the moment. He added: ‘I think many hospitals in many parts the country are barely managing actually.

“Talking to people at the front lines, I believe it’s just too costly to continue at this pace.

“It’s unacceptable to witness the number of deaths we have at the moment.

“At one stage last Wednesday there were 180 dead in one day. That’s a lot of people dying. We seem to be conditioned to believe that there will be many, many deaths from Covid. This is not true.

“We must slow down transmission and really redouble effort to get everyone vaccinated, and all the boosters out. Then we can open up again.”

Professor Openshaw was questioned about his thoughts on people who are concerned about how they can stop the spread if the Government does not reintroduce the measures.

He said to the program: “I think you should take matters into your own hands. Do not wait for the Government to make policy.

Only 4.5million (green) of the 9.3million eligible English citizens have received the crucial third dose. Ministers have urged people to come forward to get their inoculations.

SAGE insists that NHS will cope and admissions are unlikely’ not to reach January peak even with Plan B 

SAGE scientists asserted that it was “highly unlikely” that the NHS would be overrun by the virus this Winter, even with all the advice and restrictions that were provided. This is why No10 decided to immediately reject ‘Plan B’. 

Modelling by SAGE for England predicted that the combination of vaccine-acquired immunity and natural protection would be enough to keep hospital rates below levels seen during the second wave. 

Even in the most grim central scenarios, the group predicted that daily Covid hospital admissions wouldn’t rise above 1,500 this winter. They could rise next spring according to more optimistic models. Daily numbers published daily by the Government include all four UK states.

SAGE forecasts assume that a modest 1.3 million elderly and vulnerable people will be given a Covid booster vaccination per week over the next months. This is roughly the same rate as the current rate and that 90 percent of eligible over-50s and NHS workers, as well as at-risk adults, take up the offer.   

SAGE stated in documents that were submitted to ministers last week, but not published today, that there was evidence that the third wave of hospitalisations had reached its peak.

But the panel of top scientists — which include Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty — warned against complacency, adding there was still a threat if people suddenly drop all precautions, vaccines suddenly wane in younger groups or a new variant becomes dominant. 

They advised the Government to prepare contingencies so that face masks, work from home, and vaccine passports can quickly be introduced in the event of an epidemic that deviates dramatically from the ‘optimistic” modelling. If the measures are implemented quickly, they could make a big difference.

“I’m very, very reluctant to go into crowded areas because I know that approximately one in 60 people living in a crowded area will have the virus. If you can, cycle to work.

‘I believe you should do everything in your power to reduce transmission. Do not wait for government policy to change.

“The sooner we act, the quicker we can lower this transmission rate, and the greater the chance of having Christmas with our families.” 

The World Health Organisation warned that the vaccine alone would not be sufficient to eradicate the pandemic.

Spokesperson Margaret Harris stated to Times Radio, “The problem is focusing only on one thing, the vaccine won’t get us out of this.”

“We really must take other measures.

“We must be serious about not crowding. We must still consider wearing the masks when we are indoors.

According to scientific advisers, the Government must ensure that Plan B restrictions to combat coronavirus can be ‘rapidly deployed’ if necessary.

Experts from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, (Sage), said in minutes of a meeting published last Friday, that a second large spike in infections, such as January’s, was ‘increasingly unlike’. As experts predicted, there would be a series of smaller, flatter peaks as this virus continues to spread.

Sage, however, warned that the Government’s Plan B measures would have the greatest impact if they were introduced in unison and sooner than expected.

Scientists favor a light-touch approach that is implemented earlier to make a difference. Sage stated that the’reintroduction’ of working-from home guidance would have the greatest individual impact in transmission out of the measures’ in Plan B.

The Times was told by Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of India, that the country cannot return to’significant economic restraints’ and that the vaccine rollout had made this unnecessary. Boris Johnson said Friday that he did not intend to lock down the country again.

Kate Nicholls, UK Hospitality CEO, warned that businesses would not survive another winter under lockdown restrictions.

When she was asked by Times Radio whether she believed businesses would survive if the Government went ahead with Plan B, her blunt answer was: “No, I don’t.” We have already lost 12,000 companies.

She stated that when restrictions are in place, ‘consumers stay at home, they don’t go out and socialise’.