London | British health officials acknowledged on Wednesday that the infection rate is “not under control” in the UK, as the second wave of the new coronavirus continues to rise.
“Things are going in the wrong direction,” warned government science adviser Patrick Vallance at a press conference in Downing Street. The infection rate continues to rise and is “not under control at the moment,” he said.
During this press conference, Boris Johnson called on the British to “patience”, to “common sense”, warning once again that the government would not hesitate to take more restrictive measures than those currently in force.
Faced with the pandemic, national containment was decreed in March, then gradually lifted in the summer.
New restrictions have been introduced in recent weeks, especially locally, due to the increase in the number of people infected.
“We have a long winter ahead of us,” warned England chief medical officer Chris Whitty, stressing that the number of hospitalizations, including intensive care, is “in the wrong direction”.
The hardest-hit country in Europe, with 42,143 dead (+71), the United Kingdom recorded 7,108 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of positive cases to 453,264.
Before Parliament extended legislation on Wednesday that expands government powers to deal with the pandemic, Health Minister Matt Hancock assured MPs would have their say on national measures.
Because a little earlier, Boris Johnson escaped a rebellion from his own camp.
About 50 Conservative MPs threatened to support a motion demanding that parliamentarians be able to vote on measures taken by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19, accusing the executive of governing “by decree.”
But Speaker of the House of Commons, the lower house of Parliament, Lindsay Hoyle, refused to let MPs speak on the proposal, saying there was no time for a proper debate.
While inflicting a setback on the rebels, Mr Hoyle launched a scathing attack on the government and the manner in which it brought in new restrictions.
“I am counting on the government to remedy a situation which I consider to be absolutely unsatisfactory”, declared the “speaker”.
“I am now counting on the government to restore confidence with this chamber and not to treat it with the contempt it has shown”, he said.
Ms Hoyle has already repeatedly berated the government for announcing pandemic-related measures to the media before doing so in parliament and for giving MPs insufficient time to debate them before they come into effect.
Boris Johnson's government had previously been accused of despising MPs after suspending parliamentary session last year at a crucial time in the process of leaving the European Union – a decision later overturned and ruled illegal by the Supreme Court.