CORONAVIRUS rules should be strengthened over the summer months as many young people remain unvaccinated, one expert has warned.
Professor Peter Openshaw today said easing restrictions too fast would be a “big mistake”.
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One expert has warned that easing coronavirus restrictions too fast would be a mistakeCredit: Rex
The Imperial College London expert, who has been advising the government on Covid-19, today warned that while many people have received a coronavirus vaccine, we shouldn’t rely on them to keep us safe from infection.
The vaccine rollout has been hailed at driving transmission rates down, as well as the impact of a third national lockdown.
Further restrictions are set to be eased on May 17, with some calling for lockdown to end sooner, but Prof Openshaw warned against early loosening.
He said: “I really think that we’re doing the right thing by being cautious and by proceeding according to the evidence and not easing too fast.
“I think we do know that easing too fast would be a big mistake and we don’t want to lose all the ground that’s been gained by massive public effort to get to where we are now.
“It’s so vital that we do keep up the precautions and move with cautious speed”, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.
Professor Openshaw has warned against easing restrictions earlyCredit: Imperial College London
Prof Openshaw said as restrictions continue to ease across the country, Brits “mustn’t let their guard down”.
“We need to also strengthen precautions of mask-wearing and testing and tracing, particularly for indoor crowded events which are such high risk, particularly things like exercise classes, we’re probably going to need keep some pre-testing.
“I think we mustn’t drop our guard during the summer, we must use the summer to strengthen our precautions and to roll out vaccines into the groups that are most transmitting, which are younger people who so far perhaps haven’t been vaccinated so much.
“So, we mustn’t lose our concentration during this summer interval.”
KEEP YOUR GUARD UP
Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, today said while vaccine success should be celebrating, we also needed to remain cautious.
Speaking to the Science and Technology committee he said ignoring everything that has been learned about social distancing in the last year could lead to a much larger coronavirus wave.
He told MPs: “If we all go completely wild and just ignore everything … that we’ve learnt over this last year in terms of social restrictions, there will be another wave, and that wave will be much larger.
“If we can carry on with the messaging that we carry on being cautious, even though we un-lockdown slowly in terms of the social distancing, the mask wearing, etc, we may keep infection rates down.
“Therefore, in terms of the number of infections that we get, they will be less, and therefore the risk benefit of these vaccines changes.”
Prof Openshaw’s comments on extra precautions come after it was today revealed that that a single dose of a Covid-19 vaccine can cut transmission by up to half.
Experts think that vaccinated patients are less likely to pass on the bug because they produce less of the virus.
One in four adults in the UK are now fully immunised with their second shot.
There are three vaccines currently being rolled out across the UK, the Oxford/AstraZeneca, the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Moderna jab.
So far over 33.8 million Brits have received a vaccine with 13.2 million have also had a second.
Prof Openshaw said the results of the Public Health England (PHE) study, were “very reassuring”.
He said: “It shows that the immune system is doing something a lot more than we were expecting of it really.”
He said it is known from other studies that infection is “typically much milder” in people who have been vaccinated and added that with two doses the outcome is “almost certainly going to be even better”.