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Jeremy Hunt warns Covid restrictions could return this autumn

LOCKDOWN restrictions could return in the autumn if Covid-19 cases continue to rise, former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned.

On Monday restrictions are set to be fully eased in England.

But Mr Hunt, who is now chairman of the Commons Health and Social Care Committee, said the situation was “very serious”.

“The warning light on the NHS dashboard is not flashing amber, it is flashing red,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“Covid hospital patients are doubling every two weeks. That means we are heading for 10,000 Covid hospital patients by the end of August, which is about 20 times higher than this time last year. It is a very serious situation.

“I think coming into September we are almost certainly going to see infections reach a new daily peak going above the 68,000 daily level, which was the previous daily record in January.

“If they are still going up as the schools are coming back I think we are going to have to reconsider some very difficult decisions. How we behave over the next few weeks will have a material difference.”

Mr Hunt said the Government needed to make changes to the NHS Covid app amid signs people were deleting it due to the high numbers being ‘pinged’ and told to self-isolate.

“The risk with that app is that it is beginning to lose social consent and so we should either make it less sensitive or move to a system where you have to get a test when you are pinged.

“The risk is that if people are deleting the app then you can’t even ping them to ask them to have a test.”

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