NEW research suggests a "reasonable worst-case scenario" of a second peak around Christmas.

The new modelling for Wales suggests it would arrive there "significantly earlier" than a second spike in England.

England, Scotland and Wales introduced lockdown restrictions on March 26 and Northern Ireland on March 28 with only minor differences in their respective approaches.

However, over time, differences between the approach of each part of the UK emerged, and the four-nation exit strategy appears to have broken down.

The first case of coronavirus in Wales came on February 28 compared to March 1 in Scotland and January 31 in England.

The first death in Wales was on March 15, just two days after the first in Scotland and ten days behind England.

By mid-July Scotland’s daily death count continued to fall, while Wales’ had risen from the end of June.

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Experts say that there are some differences in the distributions between Scotland and England/Wales: in particular, Scotland does not enjoy the same degree of ‘summer premium’, due perhaps, to its cooler, shorter summers.

The latest data suggests Wales would see a new peak in late December, much earlier than England, just a month ahead of the typical annual spike in flu cases.

Fliss Bennee, co-chair of the Welsh Government’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG), told the Senedd’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee: “Our reasonable worst-case scenario, and indeed the majority of our modelling, shows a peak at a different time [to England].”

She said Swansea University data found a worst-case scenario peak in Wales could come “significantly earlier” than England at “the end of December for Covid”, which is a month ahead of annual flu cases spiking.

“In the reasonable worst-case scenario for Wales we made use of a model that Swansea University have done for us using the Oxford model,” she said. “We start to diverge significantly from the UK model.

"Sage models for England but in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland it is very different from somewhere which has large population centres in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds which would otherwise skew our reaction to it.”

Boris Johnson said on Saturday that the UK is "now seeing a second wave" of Covid-19, adding: "It's been inevitable we'd see it in this country."

Mr Johnson said he did not "want to go into bigger lockdown measures" but that tighter social distancing rules might be necessary.