Covid UK news – live: First winter of Delta variant may require new ‘Plan B’ restrictions, Whitty warns

By Joe Middleton and Andy Gregory

While the UK is in a much better place than before, “tens of thousands” of coronavirus deaths are still a possibility, a Sage expert has warned.

Professor Andrew Hayward told BBC Radio 4’s Today show: “We’ve moved away from a situation where there’s a potential for hundreds of thousands of deaths to a situation where we may still see tens of thousands of deaths.”

It comes as the Prime Minister refused to rule out additional measures such as masks and vaccine passports, which may be necessary as part of a “plan B” to tackle rising cases autumn.

While booster vaccines will be offered to all over-50s at the start of autumn, Sage experts have warned the government “can’t wait” to implement additional measures if needed.

Sir Patrick Vallance said, “When you make a move, you have to go earlier than you think you want to, you have to go harder than you think you want to and you have to make sure you have got the right geographical coverage.”

He added: “So, if this goes in the wrong direction and cases go up, followed by hospitalisations, it’s important that the measures are put in place early enough and they are significant enough.”

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