Thursday 25 June 2020 6:51 pm

Chris Whitty: Covid-19 cases ‘will rise again’ if people ignore social distancing

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has issued a stern warning that coronavirus cases “will rise again” if people ignore social distancing guidelines.

In an uncharacteristic move, Whitty took to Twitter to caution that “Covid-19 has gone down due to the efforts of everyone but it is still in general circulation.”

“If we do not follow social distancing guidance then cases will rise again. Naturally people will want to enjoy the sun but we need to do so in a way that is safe for all,” he added.

It comes as a “major incident” was declared in Bournemouth this afternoon as thousands of sunseekers flouted lockdown rules to head to the beach. 

Dorset Police assistant chief constable Sam de Reya urged the public to “think twice before heading to the area.”

“Clearly we are still in a public health crisis and such a significant volume of people heading to one area places a further strain on emergency services resources,” she said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday announced fresh social distancing measures for England to reemerge after months of lockdown, citing a “dramatic fall” in the infection rate in the UK.

From 4 July, the two-metre social distancing rule that has been in place since March will be replaced with new “one metre-plus” guidance. The public will next month be able to socialise in one-metre distances, provided they take “mitigating” precautions such as wearing face masks and gloves.

It comes as a further 149 coronavirus-related deaths were recorded in the UK the past 24 hours, the Department for Health said, sparking concern that an increasing rate of infection could force the Prime Minister to backtrack on plans to ease the lockdown.

Johnson has warned that he “will not hesitate to apply the handbrakes on a local or indeed national level” should the number of infections rise in the country.

Parts of Germany reentered lockdown yesterday after more than 1,000 abattoir workers tested positive for the virus.

Texas today followed suit, pressing hold on its reopening plans after the US state yesterday recorded an all-time daily high of infections.