ONE of the country's top scientists has warned that "we're on the edge of losing control" of the spread of coronavirus.

When asked whether the UK was still in control of the spread of the virus, former chief scientific adviser and member of Sage Sir Mark Walport said: “I think one would have to say that we’re on the edge of losing control.”

He told the BBC’s Today programme: “You’ve only got to look across the Channel to see what’s happening in France, what’s happening in Spain.

“The French on Thursday had 9,800 new infections and one can see their hospital admissions and indeed their intensive care admissions are going up.”


New rules will come into force in Wales on Monday.

People will be required to wear face masks in shops and enclosed public spaces, though there are some exemptions.

And a limit of six people will be placed on indoor gatherings in the country, though children under the age of 11 won't be included in the count.

Sir Walport added: “The short answer is the only way to stop the spread of this infection is to reduce the number of people we all come into contact with, that lowers the risk.

“It’s a very very fine balancing act, it’s very important to get youngsters back to school, people to university but it means we’re going to have to hold back our contacts in other areas.”

The professor said he was “definitely” still working from home and told the programme: “Where people can work from home there’s an extremely strong argument that they should do so.”

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove denied that the Government was losing control of Covid-19.

“No. I don’t accept that,” he said.

Mr Gove said Sir Mark’s warning is a “warning to us all”, telling the Today Programme: “I think Sir Mark’s words – he’s a very distinguished scientist – is a warning to us all.

“There’s a range of scientific opinion but one thing on which practically every scientist is agreed is that we have seen an uptick in infection and therefore it is appropriate we take public health measures.”