Wales’ top medical expert says the country is likely to be entering another wave of coronavirus, but he is “hopeful” that draconian restrictions do not need to be imposed. The Doctor. Frank Atherton was speaking as concerns are mounting about a rise in infection rates across the UK.
The latest figures are due to be released at lunchtime on Friday (June 17), but last week’s data showed a further increase in cases in England and Northern Ireland. Atherton said this morning that the numbers in Wales are “rising” and that they are taking a close look at rising infection rates in Portugal after staying low for several weeks and a significant drop in rates.
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But he told BBC Radio Wales on Friday: “That tide seems to have turned many times. There are new variants of the Omicron lineage that we are seeing across Europe in places like Portugal.
“We’ve seen a slight increase recently on the NHS with people coming in for coronavirus treatment. That said, I’m still optimistic that the vaccine program and vaccines that have been so successful will help weaken the link between community transmission and direct harm. .”
He added: “I suspect we’re entering a new wave. And I’m very hopeful, however, that we won’t have to reimpose some of these more draconian measures. But that just highlights the fact that we’re probably going to go through cycles of that.
“It’s like a rubber ball and it keeps bouncing back. And that’s going to continue to happen. And so we need to be willing and ready as communities to put our own measures in place was not through legislation.”
Atherton said people should use what they learned during the pandemic and maintain social distancing, wearing face masks and isolating themselves if they suffer from any respiratory symptoms.
He said, “I think this needs to be incorporated into the way we’re going to live as a society in the future. I would anticipate, you know, cycles every few months or every three to five weeks. That’s all assuming nothing that you know, nasty comes out. of wood.
“We’ve always known that this virus continues to evolve. And our great hope, of course, is that it doesn’t evolve into something that could elude us and lead to another big spike.
“That’s always something we need to guard against. We need to have better surveillance and we’re working to increase that here in Wales. But my expectation is that there will be more waves, but I hope it doesn’t do as much damage either.”
Infection rates are believed to have increased in several parts of the UK, with infections increasing in London, North West and South East England.
According to sister site The Mirror, there are also early signs of a spike in the east of England, with an area in the East Midlands seeing the biggest rise in infections over the past two weeks, with cases at 223%. Experts fear that more recent mutations, such as the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, may have evolved to infect lung tissue, just like earlier forms of the virus, making them more dangerous.
The two mutations, first detected in Africa in January and February – were designated as variants of concern in the UK on 20 May, but the majority of infections in the UK remain from the BA.2 strain. The UK Health Safety Agency is also monitoring BA.5.1 – an offshoot of BA.5 – and the subvariant BA.2.12.1, which remains the dominant strain in the US.