France has tried to avoid imposing more lockdowns, but the French government has been forced to change direction.
This week, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced 16 of the country’s regions, as well as Paris, will enter into a new lockdown from midnight on Friday, March 19.
This lockdown is due to last at least a month.
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He said: “From what I understand, quite a lot of that is the emergence of the strain that came from the UK, the B117 strain, which is more transmissible, which is the same strain that’s still here now.
“I think it just shows that the lockdown in the UK is necessary and we need to be careful as we release and to watch the figures because this shows the potential for cases to shoot up.”
When asked if another wave of COVID cases was possible in the UK, Mr Hayward said that it was “possible, likely even”.
“So the consequences of another wave are less. I think the challenge is, of course, we don’t know exactly how much less.”
Boris Johnson has previously promised Britons that they can hope to holiday abroad from May 17, but Mr Hayward said that travel is “obviously” going to be affected following the news of the rise in European COVID cases.
Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the scientific pandemic influenza group on modelling, a SAGE sub-group, also spoke about foreign travel on the radio this morning.
“I think we are running a real risk if we do start to have lots of people going overseas in July and August because of the potential for bringing more of these new variants back into the country,” Dr Tildesley added.
“What is really dangerous is if we jeopardise our vaccination campaign by having these variants where the vaccines don’t work as effectively spreading more rapidly.”
As well as many parts of France entering into a new lockdown and schools and shops being closed in Italy, non-essential shops and cultural venues have closed for three weeks in Poland.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that it is likely that the country would need to apply an “emergency brake” and reimpose lockdown restrictions as COVID-19 continues to spread across the country.