Boris Johnson ‘spooked’ by fears of a second spike of coronavirus within next fortnight

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to Tollgate Medical Centre; Evening Standard/Jeremy Selwyn/PA Wire

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to Tollgate Medical Centre; Evening Standard/Jeremy Selwyn/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A senior government source has said that Boris Johnson fears a second spike of coronavirus in the UK next month, having witnessed a flare up of infections at both home and in Europe.

The source told the Daily Mail that the prime minister is 'extremely concerned' by the outbreaks which are 'bubbling up' both in the UK and in Europe.

Although the numbers in the UK remain relatively low, rises have been recorded daily over the last week for the first time since the virus peaked in April.

The average daily number of coronavirus cases now stands at almost 700 - the highest toll for three weeks - back when pubs, restaurants and hairdressers were reopening.

It is up from 546 cases on July 5 - an increase of 28%. On average 65 Britons are dying with coronavirus each day.

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Scientists have warned of a second wave in the autumn and winter, but the World Health Organisation has advised against using the label.

Dr David Nabarro told Newsnight last night: 'I don't want to call it a second wave,

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'What's actually happening is this virus, which stopped being transmitted so widely because of the lockdowns, has now started to reassert itself and is just coming back. So I really call them recurrences. There are spikes across Europe and indeed across the world and what we need to do is to stop these spikes from developing into big outbreaks.'

A Downing Street source said: 'The PM is extremely concerned by what he's seeing abroad and fears we could be seeing the same thing here in a fortnight.

'People have got to realise we are still in the middle of a pandemic. He wants to go further on opening things up and getting people back to work, but he knows it'll be his head on the block if things go wrong.'

But Number 10 insisted there was no immediate risk to the UK, despite the fears, and ruled out returning to national restrictions.

A source said: 'We have not seen a sharp uptick yet, but we are concerned. We don't want to experience what some other countries are experiencing and it would be remiss of us if we were not looking at steps to prevent that.

'That means we need to make sure we are not importing cases from abroad. But it also means people need to be vigilant here and maintain the social distancing.'

Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease specialist at the University of East Anglia, said: 'Give us a couple of weeks before we start panicking.'

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