Now is the time to guard against coronavirus as the warning signs of a second wave are there

THE news that restrictions on socialising are being re-imposed and infection rates are going up is bound to make the nation nervous.

People will be fearful that they won’t be able to socialise, that they might lose their jobs, and that they won’t be able to enjoy a big family Christmas.

But it is good news that the government is reacting swiftly to a rise in positive Covid-19 test results.

There are about 3,000 new cases a day in Britain and the average number of cases per 100,000 has gone up from 12.5 to 19.7 over the past week.

This rise in infections isn’t just because we are testing more people. Positive test results have tripled from two per cent to six per cent.

That crucial reproduction number is around 1.1 and 1.2, when we don’t want secondary infections caused by a single person going above one.

Worryingly, on Tuesday there were 32 deaths related to Covid-19, which was the highest number for six weeks.

On Tuesday in Spain, which has the worst Covid-19 infection rate in Europe, 575 new patients were hospitalised, 49 were admitted into intensive care and 78 died.


France is heading in a similar direction.

The warning signs are there. 

Summer is drawing to a close, we will soon be spending more time inside and now is the moment to be on our guard.

New rules coming into force on Monday mean that the number of people who can gather socially either outside or inside has gone back down to six.

You can only get together as a group of more than half a dozen if you are part of the same household or a social bubble.

Team sports, schools, places of worship and work environments won’t be affected, while pubs and restaurants can still allow more than six people inside their establishments.

It’s just that more than six people can’t come in together as a group.

This is common sense because the more different households meet up the greater the risk of Covid-19 spreading.

The virus is very random, anyone we know could have caught it and not know about it.

We need to regard everybody as a potential carrier, even friends and family.


The cleaning procedures in schools and commercial premises are far superior to those of a home, so they are able to safely accommodate more than a dozen people at a time.

The new government campaign, which is hand, face, space, sounds simplistic, but is a good way of reminding us how we can all do our bit to fight the virus.

Firstly, we need to wash our hands for a good 20 seconds, making sure all parts of the hands are thoroughly cleaned. 

Keep that hand sanitiser with you in case there are no sinks close by.

Secondly, we need to wear our masks properly, keeping them above the nostrils and washing reusable ones.

And, perhaps most importantly, we need to remember to give people space when we can. 

The more distance we have from others, the more the risk of transmitting the virus reduces. One metre is good, two metres is even better.

Young people have undoubtedly been the vectors for increasing the R rate, they are the risk takers because they never think it will happen to them.

 While the national average of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people is 19.7, among 17-18 year olds it is 48 and for 19 to 21 year-olds it is 54.

It is unfair to put all the blame on them because the government encouraged our nation to go back to the bars and the restaurants.

However, they need to remember to be sensible when they do meet up with friends.

The virus isn’t only spreading among people in their twenties. There are plenty of older people who cast doubt on the need to abide by the Covid-19 guidelines.

House parties are a major risk, because when you are drinking alcohol you are likely to forget to socially distance.

Revellers tend to not care what they are touching, they sing, shout and laugh, which could massively increase the aerosol spread of the virus.

The virus isn’t only spreading among people in their twenties.

There are plenty of older people who cast doubt on the need to abide by the Covid-19 guidelines.

Let’s trust the experts when they say these new measures are most likely to control the infection rate.

We might think some decisions are odd or even contradictory, but they are being drawn up by people who really understand how germs spread.

If further restrictions come in, such as more curfews in lockdown areas, go with the flow, don’t challenge them.

These new precautions are sensible and proportionate.

They allow us to go to school, travel to work, attend weddings, shop and dine out.

We can get through this, we are a nation that rallies in times of trouble.

During a pandemic that’s a lot of leeway for leading as normal lives as possible.

The impact of taking unnecessary risks now will be terrible whether you are young or old.

The consequence will be that the economy will suffer, people will lose their jobs, we will have less money in our pockets, there will be less freedom to mix with friends and less chance to travel.

The Prime Minister offered hope in the form of half a million tests being carried out by the end of October and later millions of home tests.

A lot of effort is undoubtedly going into improving the testing regime, but at the moment they are not quite reliable enough.

Until a truly world beating testing system is up and running it up to all of us to do our bit.

We can get through this, we are a nation that rallies in times of trouble.

The quicker we get on top of this fresh rise in infections the better.

If we do that we will all be able to celebrate this Christmas.

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