The UK government urges young people not to 'kill your gran' as the WHO warns a 2nd coronavirus wave is coming to Britain

  • A second wave of infections 'is coming' to the UK, the World Health Organisation has warned.
  • Dr David Nabarro, the WHO's special envoy for the coronavirus response, said: 'I don't like it calling it a second wave, I just say there are going to be more spikes and indeed some surges of cases because the virus hasn't changed.'
  • Most infections are being recorded among young people, which prompted Health Minister Matt Hancock to warn people not to 'kill your gran.'
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A second wave of coronavirus infections "is coming" to the UK, a top World Health Organisation official has warned, as UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged young people not to "kill your gran" by spreading the virus.

Health officials recorded 2,948 new Covid-19 cases as of Monday after 2,988 were recorded the day before. The new figures mean that the weekly rate of new cases has risen above 20 per 100,000, the nationals level at which the government considers quarantining arrivals from a given country.

Dr David Nabarro, the WHO's special envoy for the global coronavirus response, was asked if a "second wave" of coronavirus infections was imminent in the UK and replied: "It's coming."

"I don't like it calling it a second wave, I just say there are going to be more spikes and indeed some surges of cases because the virus hasn't changed.

"It's the same virus that came and caused so much trouble earlier this year.

"It's just been lurking, we've been very good at holding it back through restricting movement and lockdowns."

"Now as life gets going again, younger people are going to university, also there's some movement around with holidays and of course work – then I'm afraid it does mean the virus is going to come back."

The rise in new cases has prompted alarm in Downing Street, even as ministers this week urged people across the country to return to schools, offices, and universities. One Downing Street official told Politico Playbook that detailed data seen by government aides was "not good at all."

New infections being recorded are particularly prevalent among the 17-21 age group, officials say.

That prompted Matt Hancock, the health minister, to warn young people on Monday not to "kill your gran" amid concerns that older relatives who have so far been shielded from a resurgence of infections could be exposed by younger relatives.

"Don't kill your gran by catching coronavirus then passing it on," he told a BBC radio programme which targets younger audiences.

Jonathan Van-Tam, the UK's deputy chief medical officer, on Monday said that he had "great concern" about the "big rises" in cases and claimed that people have "relaxed too much."

It is not yet clear the extent to which the government's drive to push people back onto public transport and into offices — as well its decision as re-opening schools and university campuses — will cause the virus to spread further.

The government reportedly plans to contain the spread of the virus this winter by ramping up testing significantly in time for Christmas, an initiative nicknamed "Operation Moon Shot."

But the government's failure to role out a tracing app, as well its struggles to implement a fully effective tracing programme, will raise concerns about the likelihood of the plan being successfully rolled out on time.

Boris Johnson is so concerned about the new rise in cases that he could hold a press conference on the subject later this week, Downing Street officials say.

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