The UK ‘heading for new national lockdown within two weeks’ after tracing chaos

The UK could be placed back under a national lockdown in just two weeks, an expert has warned.

Anthony Costello, who is the ex-World Health Organisation director, says that the country's test and trace system needs to be fully overhauled.

At the moment, the £12billion system – developed by a private company – has been plagued with problems, the Mirror reports.

In the week up to September 30 in England, test and trace reached just 68.6% of close contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 – the lowest since the scheme began.

Mr Costello, a member of Independent SAGE, has warned restrictions imposed in recent weeks will only pause the spread of coronavirus until a working tracing system is in place.

He said: “The reason we’re in this trouble is we didn’t set up a proper test, trace and isolate scheme in March.

"We had the chance to reform it when it wasn’t working. We didn’t do that.”

He said local so-called circuit breakers – like the 16-day restrictions in Scotland – may stay far longer if deaths keep rising.

He added: “I suspect in a couple of weeks the Government will be forced to go into some sort of national lockdown.”

Hospital admissions were doubling every 14 days in England, while in the North East, Yorkshire and North West it was every seven to 10 days, said an expert.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make a Commons statement tomorrow.

He is expected to confirm rumours that his government is drawing up plans for a controversial three-tiered lockdown system across the UK.

Under the rumoured plans, areas with the highest Covid infection rates would be placed under much more stringent lockdown measures, while areas where the spread was better contained would be able to live more freely.

Pressure has grown on Number 10 to take action to curb rising coronavirus rates in the north of England since Nicola Sturgeon took much sterner action in Scotland – closing pubs early and restricting alcohol sales.

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It is already rumoured the cities such as Manchester, Newcastle and Liverpool will be placed under much harsher restrictions on Monday after recent spikes there.

According to reports, 'tier one' will be the current national restrictions including the rule of six and 10pm pub curfew.

Tier two would include a ban on households meeting, as already exists in local lockdowns.

And tier three would go further than current local lockdowns by shutting hospitality.

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