Returning to a tiered system of coronavirus restrictions next month will cause infections to rise to the levels which prompted England to enter its second lockdown, the government’s scientific advisers have warned.
In newly-released documents, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said the country’s coronavirus reproduction rate – or R number – is likely to fall below 1 during the four-week lockdown.
But the experts said that infections will “return to the same rate of increase” as before national restrictions were imposed on 5 November if the country returns to its previous three-tier system.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted the latest lockdown will end on 2 December but it remains unclear what restrictions will be in place over the Christmas period.
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In its document, SAGE said England’s lockdown is “likely to reduce R to less than 1” and the number of hospital admissions and deaths “would be expected to fall until at least the second week of December”.
But it warned that the “longer-term outlook” depends on “pol