The U.K. is seeing a surge in the number of Coronavirus cases and the situation could get out of control very soon if it doesn't act now, said a scientific adviser to the government.
Imperial College London's Professor Peter Openshaw, who teaches experimental medicine, came out with the warning amid the surge in daily new cases. He said that the trickle of new cases could soon turn into a cascade if people do not follow the rules.
The U.K. eased restrictions after the number of daily cases diminished. But since the second week of August, there is a surge with the country reporting more than 1,000 new cases every day. On September 12, the U.K. reported nearly 3,500 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total tally to over 365,000 with 41,623 deaths.
Rule of Six
From Monday (September 14) onwards, people in England will have to follow the rule of six with only six people allowed in a group. If people do not follow the restrictions, there will be a £100 fine while repeat offenders will have to pay up to £3,200. Wales and Scotland have also implemented a similar rule of six while in Northern Ireland, only affected areas would be put under such restrictions.
Openshaw, who is a member of the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) urged people to adhere to the rules. "Everyone is in agreement that we really need to act very quickly now in order to prevent this from growing exponentially," he told Sky News in an interview.
"We must act fast because it's so much harder to get this sort of thing under control if you delay even a few days it is potentially going to be quite dangerous at this particular moment," he added.
Not a Game
Openshaw compared the situation to water seeping through a dam. "It starts as a trickle and if you don't do something about it, it can turn into a real cascade," he said in response to if the U.K. was losing control of the situation.
Amid the rising number of cases, many young people were seen singing and dancing in London. A similar incident was also reported when Liverpool won the Premier League title. Openshaw also issued a warning to young people, who have been seen partying without face coverings and disobeying social gatherings.
"This isn't a game. We shouldn't be out trying to party as hard as we can in the run-up to Monday's lockdown. We should all be really thinking about what we can do now to slow down the spread," he said.
Vaccine Could be Savior
If a Coronavirus vaccine is approved soon, it would definitely bring relief. Openshaw said he was hopeful that at least one vaccine — most likely Oxford University-AstraZeneca candidate — would pass successful trials by Christmas. If a candidate passes the final trial by the end of the year, an effective vaccine would be released by Winter 2021, Huffington Post reported.
"I do think that we will probably have positive results of at least one of these vaccine trials by Christmas. It means that with rapid scaling up, we might have vaccination programs that can roll out to some parts of the world in the next nine months," Openshaw said.