BORIS Johnson was tonight urged not to overreact to fears of a second wave of coronavirus and risk destroying the economy.
The PM is said to be “extremely concerned” by outbreaks “bubbling up” in the UK.
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Cases here are 28 per cent higher than they were three weeks ago.
But scientists insisted there was no need to panic and senior Tories urged Boris not to reimpose the kind of blanket social distancing measures that crippled the economy during lockdown.
It came as Belgium and Luxembourg were set to be added to the UK’s quarantine list — but Croatia was likely to be spared, despite a rise in cases.
And it also emerged that the Government had ordered 60million doses of another potential Covid-19 vaccine.
Scientists tried to calm fears saying a second spike “was to be expected” following mass relaxation of rules on July 4 that saw pubs, restaurants and hairdressers reopen and Brits allowed to visit each other’s homes.
Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease specialist at the University of East Anglia, urged the PM to stand firm because “we could last out August” without the need to reimpose blanket measures.
He said: “Give us a couple of weeks before we start panicking.”
Tory ex-Cabinet minister Theresa Villiers said the Government should rollout mass testing to chase down outbreaks. Testing in the UK is currently running at less than a third of the 338,000 available tests.
She told The Sun: “I urge the Government not to rush us back into lockdown. So many businesses are just getting back on their feet, we don’t want to knock them down again.
“There has to be a better way to deal with the remaining Covid risk than closing down the economy. Mass testing should mean we don’t have to return to a blanket lockdown.”
Sir Graham Brady, chair of the backbench Tory 1922 committee, said: “It may be that we may need to live with Covid-19 for many months or years to come. It is essential that the response to it is proportionate and targeted.”
That was echoed by Dr Gail Carson, who heads a global group investigating respiratory diseases and said that governments should shift their focus to mitigating the virus’s impact rather than defeating it altogether.
The PM was said to be spooked after positive cases in the UK rose each day last week for the first time since the April peak.
But he has told aides he is determined to do all it takes to avoid a second national lockdown.
Tomorrow a much anticipated review is expected to reveal that Britain’s coronavirus death toll has been overstated because Public Health England had added people who had died of other causes to the statistics.
Meanwhile, ministers are expected to confirm they are actively looking into introducing a two-test system that may free people from quarantine within eight days of arriving in the UK.
It would see arrivals given a test at the airport and followed up with another test seven days later.
If both tests came back negative they would be able to leave quarantine — instead of after 14 days — giving a major boost to the travel industry.
British Airways, easyJet, Tui and Heathrow airport were among 47 travel-related firms who have written to the PM urging him to take a “more nuanced approach” to quarantine rules and expand testing measures.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps apologised to Brits whose Spanish holidays had been ruined, but insisted slapping quarantine measures on them was “the right thing to do”.
He said: “Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, was very clear with us that he was concerned about the data.
“It had doubled in just a few days. He was concerned to see what was happening in the islands and that’s why we make it a whole-country approach in these things.”
Mr Shapps was beginning 14 days in isolation after cutting short his own Spanish holiday and returning home.
New quarantine rules on people arriving from Belgium and Luxembourg are due when the Government reviews its “air bridge” list tomorrow.
The Sun understands that officials are also keeping a “watchful eye” on Croatia but do not believe its rise in cases is enough to warrant action.
The Government has signed a deal for a fourth potential Covid-19 jab — agreeing terms for 60million doses from GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur.
It follows deals for 100million of the Oxford University jab developed by AstraZenecca and 90million from two other firms.
Ministers say having multiple agreements means the UK will get “early access” if any of them are found to work.
All four are awaiting the results of trials.
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