Stephen Powis, medical director of the National Health Service in England, said three temporary COVID-19 hospitals in northern England that were mothballed when the outbreak receded over the summer are being readied to admit patients once again in the coming weeks.
England’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, said Monday that while northern England has the highest infection rates, cases are on the rise across the country. Infections have risen most rapidly among older teenagers and young adults, who generally suffer mild symptoms, but are spreading to older and more at-risk groups.
“This is a nationwide phenomenon now,” Van-Tam said.
Bar and restaurant owners pushed back against the new restrictions, saying the government has not shared any evidence backing up the claim that they are the major transmission sources of the virus.
Manchester City Council leader Richard Leese said data from the city’s public health officials “seems to demonstrate that there is not a particular connection between bars and restaurants and the transmission of COVID.”
But Semple, the government scientific adviser, said “most of the outbreaks are happening within and between households, and then after that, it’s in the retail and hospitality sector.”
The measures announced Monday apply to England. The rest of the U.K. is under similar, and sometimes tougher, restrictions. In Scotland’s two biggest cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh, pubs have been closed for 16 days to suppress the outbreak.