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Young people in the UK must maintain social distancing to avoid the UK following countries such as France and Spain towards significant new rises in coronavirus cases, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, has said.
After almost 3,000 people tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday, a 50% rise in a single day and the highest daily total since May, Hancock said the UK could soon start to see a renewed rise in hospital admissions.
Speaking on a phone-in with LBC radio, Hancock said much of the rise was among younger people, and that it was vitally important for them to take measures to avoid spreading the virus.
“It’s concerning because we’ve seen a rise in cases in France, in Spain, in some other countries across Europe, and nobody wants to see a second wave here,” he said.
“The rise in the number of cases we’ve seen over the last few days is largely among younger people – under-25s, especially between 17 and 21. The message to all your younger listeners is that even though you’re at lower risk of dying from Covid if you’re under 25, you can still have really serious symptoms and consequences.”
While the mortality rate among young people was lower, Hancock said, they could still be susceptible to debilitating long-term symptoms.
He said: “Also you can infect other people. And this argument that we’ve seen that you don’t need to worry about a rise in cases because it’s young people, and they don’t die – firstly they can get very, very ill, and secondly, inevitably it leads to older people catching it from them.”
Hancock dismissed the idea that the increase in cases was largely down to more testing, saying that the figure for so-called test positivity, the proportion of tests that show someone does have Covid-19, was also going up.
Answering questions from listeners, Hancock played down the potential impact on medical supplies from the UK leaving the EU at the end of the year with no long-term trade deal, saying this would not be nearly as bad as if there had been no initial deal.
Hancock was questioned after it emerged Boris Johnson was drawing up legislation that would override the Brexit withdrawal agreement on Northern Ireland, threatening the collapse of talks with the EU.
“We already have a deal. The question is whether we can land a long-term future trade agreement,” Hancock said. Asked if he could guarantee no disruption to medical supplies, he said: “I’m comfortable that we’ve done the work that is needed.”
Speaking to one Nottingham-based listener, Hancock accepted that there had been difficulties in getting people Covid tests near them, after the man said he had been sent for a test in Dundee, nearly 350 miles away.
This had happened 10 days ago, the man said, with Hancock saying the system had since improved. “We’ve changed that now so that people get offered tests within 75 miles, which is still quite a hike if you need to.”
He added: “The good news is that the vast majority of people get offered access to a test at their local testing centre, and it’s turned around very rapidly, the vast majority of results come the next day. But there have been problems and we’re increasing capacity.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Young people largely behind steep rise in UK Covid cases – Hancock | World news