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Extraordinary trouble for English health service if no action taken: chief medic

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty attend a press conference to announce new restrictions to help combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain October 31, 2020. Alberto Pezzali/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - England’s National Health Service would be in extraordinary trouble in December, with large numbers dying from COVID-19 infections, without the new national lockdown announced on Saturday, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said.

“I think if we did not act now then the chances of the NHS being in extraordinary trouble in December would be very, very high,” he said at a news conference.

“So in a sense, this is trying to make sure that December is not an impossible place for the NHS with large numbers of people infected and large numbers dying.”

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton, writing by Alistair Smout; editing by William Schomberg