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Coronavirus: Britain on track to hit 50,000 infections a day, statistics chief warns

Britain is on track to hit 50,000 coronavirus cases a day this month, the UK’s national statistician has warned.

Sir Ian Diamond, the former principal of Aberdeen University, said despite efforts to contain a second wave the UK was continuing to follow the “expectations of the models”.

The UK Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, warned last month that 50,000 cases a day in October would lead to around “200-plus deaths per day” in November.

Asked about the likelihood of hitting 50,000 cases this month, Sir Ian told MPs “that’s not an unrealistic position for where we are”.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, left, and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

“What we are seeing at the moment is a significant increase, it is certainly following some of the expectations of the models”, he said.

“We’ve been following very similar second waves in (France and Spain), so I don’t think we should be surprised about the course of the pandemic at the moment.”

SNP MP Carol Monaghan asked Sir Ian if people should be worried about the current trajectory, to which he said “without a doubt”.

“I think we should be worried, absolutely”, he said.

Sir Ian however said that people should be worried “in the context of better information” and cited the advances that have been made since the pandemic first hit.

The comments came as Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told MPs we would be living with Covid-19 “forevermore”.

“There is very little chance that it’s going to become eradicated”, he told the Commons science committee.

Prof Edmunds said it would help “enormously” if people understood what the coronavirus restrictions were in their areas.

He said: “The previous situation resulted in a hodge-podge of different interventions in different places that almost literally no-one could follow.

“So the three-tier system will help with that enormously.

“I am not sure, however, that the measures will go far enough to stop epidemic growth. I hope so, but I doubt it.

“It seems much more likely that we will have to step up the measures significantly to ease the pressure on the health system that will inevitably occur if cases continue to rise as they are.”

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