BORIS Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown could be delayed – because the UK faces a fresh Covid surge as restrictions ease, an Oxford academic has warned.
Dr Peter Drobac, a former assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, warned there will be a spike in cases as Brits enjoy their new-found freedoms.
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An Oxford academic has warned the UK’s roadmap to freedom may have to slow if cases surge after lockdown began to ease yesterdayCredit: Getty
Dr Peter Drobac says there will be a spike in cases – as millions of people in England enjoy trips to the pub, haircuts and shopping againCredit: LNP
And he said that unless we take it slow and steady, Britain could face a similar future to Chile – which has just gone back into a strict lockdown, despite one of the world’s best vaccination programmes.
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Speaking on Sky News, Dr Drobac called the South American country a “real Covid vaccination success story”.
“Some 40 per cent of people have received one dose, and 25 per cent have received two doses – and at the same time, they’ve got a surge that is the worst they’ve experienced throughout the pandemic,” he said.
And he said the surge can be attributed to Chileans ‘letting down their guard’.
“Social distancing restrictions were relaxed, summer holidays were allowed to happen, border restrictions were eased,” he said.
“What happened was infections began to rise well before any protective effect happened, and they’re paying the price.”
Dr Drobac said it’s a warning that vaccinations won’t be enough to stop cases rising in the future.
“Vaccinations are so important, but they alone won’t be enough,” he said.
“Here in the UK we still face a risk of another surge if we’re not very careful about how we open up.”
Yesterday, 13 fatalities were recorded in the UK as the country’s pandemic continues to slow
Boris Johnson has insisted the UK is on track to stick with his carefully-plotted roadmapCredit: AFP
People gathered in the streets of Soho, London after kicking-out timeCredit: LNP
And he said Brits “have to be very careful”.
“The reality is that for vaccinations to tamp down the pandemic depends on how many cases you have,” he said.
“The vaccination is more effective at protecting us when case rates are very low, as they are now, versus when they’re very high.”
Just three weeks ago, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said there will “definitely” be another surge in the summer.
And Dr Drobac said: “The question is, how big a surge and when will it happen?
“As we continue to open up, that will happen.
“Our vaccination campaign has really slowed down quite significantly because of a shortage in supply, so really difficult decisions need to be made about whether the slowing rate means we need to think about the timeline for reopening.”
Officials say there are enough vaccines for every adult in the UK to get a dose.
He spoke hours after tens of thousands of Brits joined pals at the pub for the first time since January.
Punters danced in the streets after closing time after facing two-hour queues for a pint at Spoons.
Many of those who took the chance to get merry could be seen hugging each other and standing close together during the course of the evening.
Another top professor said he’d ‘certainly avoid contact with others’ in beer gardensCredit: LNP
Adam Finn urged Brits to behave cautiouslyCredit: SnapperSK
And this morning, Professor Adam Finn of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said he would “certainly avoid contact with other people” if he went to a beer garden.
“I think the risks of transmission outside are relatively low, but not if you start coming into close contact with people,” he told BBC Breakfast.
“If you happen to have the virus, and the virus is still circulating, then infections will occur.
“People need to see this in relative terms. It’s not like it’s over and we can all go back to normal, because otherwise there will be risks.”
However, he said there’s much to be positive about.
“We’re halfway up the hill if you like,” he said.
“We can look back and be pleased with what we’ve achieved, but we need to look forward to get to the summit, and really finish this off.”
He said: “I’m sure it will be a huge relief for those business owners who have been closed for so long, and for everyone else it’s a chance to get back to doing some of the things we love and have missed.
“I urge everyone to continue to behave responsibly and remember ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ to suppress Covid as we push on with our vaccination programme.”