Writing in the Sunday Times, Professor Chris Whitty said, “We have faced several grave moments during our battle against the coronavirus. But right now we perhaps face the most serious yet.”
The situation in the NHS is very serious and the number of people in ICU is rising rapidly.
We are improving our knowledge on how best to treat people in ICU thanks to research, but hundreds of people a day are currently dying.
We must all take the lockdown very seriously. https://t.co/ByWz4ejwz5
— Professor Chris Whitty (@CMO_England) January 8, 2021
Data published by the Office for National Statistics shows that on average one in 50 people have the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus in England, with around one in 30 for London, where infections have been rising the fastest.
Witty blamed the grave situation on a new variant of the CCP virus, which he said is spreading rapidly across the country and having “tragic consequences.”
He said that the new variant, which the government said has a 50 to 70 percent faster rate of transmission, has put the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) under intense pressure.
“Hospitals are always busy in winter, but the NHS in some parts of the country is currently facing the most dangerous situation anyone can remember.”
“If the virus continues on this trajectory, hospitals will be in real difficulties, and soon,” he wrote.
Under the new restrictions, people must stay at home and may only leave home for limited reasons permitted, such as to shop for “essentials,” to work if they cannot work from home, to exercise, to seek medical assistance, or to escape domestic abuse.
Witty urged the public to abide by the new lockdown restrictions. “Of course we are all tired of restrictions, but we must find the collective strength to get through this critical stage and save as many lives as we can,” he said.
He told the public that the restrictions “will not last for ever” and “people will be reunited” with the help of “new vaccines, drugs and tests.”
The UK on Friday authorised the Moderna CCP virus vaccine, which became the third vaccine to be approved after the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC on Sunday that around 2 million people in the UK have since been vaccinated.
Reuters contributed to this report.