Up to 90,000 people every day could be getting infected with coronavirus, warns Patrick Vallance

THE number of daily coronavirus infections in the UK could be as much as 90,000 cases a day.

Sir Patrick Vallance warned during a Downing Street press conference this afternoon projections show positive cases could be rising at a rapid rate.

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The Government's Chief Scientific Adviser said: "Modelling consensus suggests between 53,000-90,000 infections per day are occurring – with that you expect to see an increase in hospitalisations as well.

"The number of infections overall across the country continues to increase.

"The hospital admissions, an increase in number of patients admitted to hospital every day, is up towards 1,000 now."

If the latest estimate is correct, it would mean cases have more than doubled between October 9 and 20 – just 12 days.

New ONS stats will be released tomorrow on further studies, bringing higher figures.

Today Sir Patrick warned the strict measures will have to be in place for some time, adding: "The numbers speak for themselves. They are increasing and they are not going to decrease quickly.

"At the moment, the numbers are heading in the wrong direction but there are some signs in some places of a potential flattening off of that.

"We need to wait and see and monitor the numbers very carefully."

It comes as:

  • The first doses of coronavirus vaccine could be available BEFORE Christmas, Sir Patrick said
  • But he warned that test and trace isn't working as well as the case numbers continue to rise
  • Cases will take some time to go back down again – and the true numbers of positive cases could be 90,000 a day
  • Rishi Sunak promised support right through the winter until the spring
  • The Chancellor revealed a fresh bumper furlough package which will pay even more wages to save the nation's boozers and restaurants – splashing out an extra £8billion.

It comes after Boris Johnson said the tiers system is working to push the R rate down again – as he again rejected another national lockdown.

At a press conference this afternoon the PM said the R rate was around half of what it would be if there were no rules and restrictions put on the country.

The PM said today: "There are clear signs that our collections actions are working."

Yesterday the UK saw the biggest ever rise in daily coronavirus cases, with 26,688 people testing positive in the past 24 hours.

And a top scientist warned Brits could face a second Covid peak at Christmas if a national lockdown is not implemented now.

Government adviser Professor John Edmunds said the three tier lockdown system implemented by the government will only slow the spread of the virus and will not shrink it.

He said: "We’ll see peaks around Christmas and the New Year of very severe numbers of cases throughout the UK. It’s slower and lower in the South West and South East than in the more urban centres."

The Chancellor earlier unveiled new support for businesses to help them keep on staff by paying a larger chunk of their wages – and more grants for restaurants and pubs which can stay open but are being hit hard by the curfew and household mixing bans.

In his fourth economic statement in a month, he told MPs this morning he would make the new Job Support Scheme far more generous for firms that are able to stay open by increasing support from the state.

At the moment only businesses in Tier 3 which are ordered to shut – such as pubs which do not serve food – are allowed to claim up to two thirds of their staff's unworked wages under a local furlough scheme.

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