Coronavirus transmission is “out of control” in Tier 2 areas and another national lockdown is needed, a scientist has warned.
Christina Pagel, a mathematician and professor of operational research at University College London, said the situation is so dire that the whole of England should be placed in Tier 4 immediately.
More than 40 countries have banned UK flights and travel because of the new variant.
Watch: A breakdown of the rules for the three different coronavirus tiers in England
On Tuesday, Prof Pagel warned that COVID-19 cases are increasing in Tier 2 areas, particularly those close to regions in Tier 4.
In an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live on Tuesday, Prof Pagel said: “If I could weave a magic wand, I would put everyone in Tier 4 now, like today.
“The idea that it is not spreading everywhere now is fanciful.
“Waiting until we see it everywhere is just a disaster. If we want to have any chance of opening schools safely we have to lock down now and hope that Tier 4 is enough. I hope it is.
Transmission is out of control in tier 2 - particularly tier 2 areas in regions bordering tier 4. We need to act on this *today* - not boxing day. https://t.co/RG0J7mkCsq
— Christina Pagel (@chrischirp) December 22, 2020
“And if it isn’t, we’re going to have to start really thinking about how we control it because the NHS is going to be in real danger.”
In a tweet on Tuesday, Prof Pagel wrote: “Transmission is out of control in Tier 2 - particularly Tier 2 areas in regions bordering Tier 4. We need to act on this *today* - not Boxing Day.”
On Sunday, health secretary Matt Hancock said the new strain was “out of control” and that Tier 4 measures may be needed for “some time”.
The government has quashed its original Christmas bubble plan, which would have allowed up to three households to mix between 23 and 27 December - only those in Tiers 1 to 3 can meet up and only on Christmas Day.
But Prof Pagel tweeted that the “government must act now and not wait for this worsening situation to get even worse”.
Watch: What is long COVID?