A second wave of Covid-19 is coming to the UK and the government may be forced to impose new restrictions to stem the spread of the virus, PM Boris Johnson has said, adding that he does not want a new national lockdown.

“We are now seeing a second wave coming in… It is absolutely, I’m afraid, inevitable that we will see it in this country,” Johnson said.

The prime minister’s statement came amid a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in England, which almost doubled to 6,000 per day in September and have already led to the introduction of new restrictive measures in Merseyside, West Yorkshire, and some areas in the Midlands.

“I don’t want to get into a second national lockdown at all,” he said, but then added: “When you look at what is happening, you’ve got to wonder whether we need to go further.”

The UK has recorded more than 382,000 coronavirus cases and more than 41,700 fatalities since the start of the pandemic in December.

But the government’s scientific advisory body warned on Friday that things may sharply deteriorate. The current data suggests that the number of Covid-19 cases could be doubling in Britain “as quick as every seven days nationally, and potentially even faster in some areas of the country,” the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said.

Local media also reported that SAGE told the cabinet last week that only six percent of the UK population had developed antibodies to the virus – and those levels of immunity were unlikely to mitigate the impact of “a significant winter resurgence” of Covid-19.

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