Bans are “terrible” and the UK must learn to live with Covid without restrictions, one of the country’s most senior scientists has warned.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said the measures had “had a very profound impact” on mental health, education and jobs in the country.
However, he hoped that the government could open on June 21 based on the dates so far – but emphasized that the next few weeks would be “crucial”.
Sir Jeremy Farrar (pictured), director of the Wellcome Trust and member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said the measures had “had a very profound impact” on mental health, education and jobs in the country
He pointed out that more than eight in ten adults would be vaccinated by then, adding that he was “very confident” that the vaccinations were working.
“There is a risk of not opening up and this infection is now an endemic human infection. It won’t go away, ”he said. “Humanity will now live with this virus forever. And there will be new variants. This year, next year, the year after next there will be new variants – and we have to learn to deal with them.
“Bans are terrible. They are a sign that there was no other way you could control the virus. They have very profound implications for mental health, education and employment opportunities, especially those on lower incomes.
“Societies cannot stay in this mode forever.”
Earlier this week, Boris Johnson said that while there was nothing in the data to suggest the lockdown would end on Jan.
However, Sir Jeremy said he was confident the vaccinations had “separated” the inevitable surge in infections that came with the easing of restrictions and the subsequent increase in hospital stays.
When asked if he believed the country could open on June 21, he added, “If you really push me today, I would say that I am more optimistic because I think the vaccines have been so incredibly successful . “
Sir Jeremy Farrar hoped the government could open on June 21 based on the dates so far – but stressed that the next few weeks would be “crucial”. Pictured: Families enjoy the weather in London, Great Britain, 01 June 2021
Covid cases have increased by more than 36 percent in one week today, they were over 3,000 for the eighth day in a row and over 4,000 on the second day in less than a week
Twelve more lives also died from the virus today – a third more than last Wednesday – after no supported calls for No10 were recorded yesterday to stick to their roadmap
He added that based on current data, although he would lift restrictions, reasonable advice such as wearing a mask indoors should continue to apply.
Sir Jeremy also said, “If hospital admissions were low and deaths remained low, I would accept some level of transmission and open up.
“I honestly think this is the toughest decision in the last 18 months. I am optimistic in that I believe vaccines are incredibly safe and very effective. ‘
The Wellcome Trust is a global not-for-profit foundation that helps science solve pressing health challenges, and Sir Jeremy has been a director since 2013.
He also said he believed the vaccines provided protection from the virus for at least a year, adding, “I think the data is more comforting that the immune response is stronger and longer-lasting than you could dream of a year ago.”
But Sir Jeremy said it was imperative now that the UK and the other G7 countries – including the US, France, Germany and Japan – donate their available jabs to developing countries.
He is writing to Mr Johnson to ask him to offer ten million British doses over the next three months, which he claims will only set our vaccination campaign back by ten days.
Withholding the jabs from the poorer nations would be “playing with fire,” he said, since it is only a matter of time before a new and deadlier strain emerges.
Just yesterday, the mail revealed how concerned Whitehall officials were about a new variant discovered in Nepal, as well as Portugal, the US, Japan and India, that may be more resistant to vaccines.
Sir Jeremy said, “There are 1.4 billion people in India and hundreds of millions in Indonesia, Brazil and Nigeria.
“It’s these huge populations with uncontrolled epidemics and no access to vaccines, a variant is coming.”
Another Sage member said Covid vaccines left the UK in a “much better place” to end the lockdown despite the emergence of new variants.
Professor John Edmunds of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine also said that while the government lifted the restrictions on the 21st, this combined with the vaccination program means the UK is in a “better place” to end the restrictions.
n Children over 12 could be vaccinated against Covid by the end of the year, Sir Jeremy predicted. He also said vaccinations could be extended to five-year-olds if they are safe and effective.