• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

The unlocking of coronavirus restrictions on June 21 should be delayed "by a few weeks" due to signs the UK is in a new wave of Covid-19 infections, says a government adviser.

May 31, 2021

The unlocking of coronavirus restrictions on June 21 should be delayed “by a few weeks” due to signs the UK is in a new wave of Covid-19 infections, says a government adviser.
Professor Ravi Gupta, a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the Indian variant was driving the rise in cases. 
He said: “I think the problem is we are not too far from reaching the sort of levels of vaccination that would help us contain the virus and I think that people are not saying we should abandon the June 21 date altogether but just to delay it by a few weeks while we gather more intelligence and we can look at the trajectory in a clearer way.
“If you look at the costs and benefits of getting it wrong, I think it is heavily in favour of delay, so I think that’s the key thing.
“Yes, we will learn to live with it but this date that was set did not take into account the fact we would have a new variant on the horizon, with properties that allow it to evade antibodies to some extent and a virus which is more transmissible.”
Asked whether the UK was already in a third wave of coronavirus infections, the University of Cambridge academic said: “Yes, there has been exponential growth in the number of the new cases and at least three-quarters of them are the new variant.
“Of course the numbers of cases are relatively low at the moment – all waves start with low numbers of cases that grumble in the background and then become explosive, so the key here is that what we are seeing here is the signs of an early wave.
“It will probably take longer than earlier waves to emerge because of the fact that we do have quite high levels of vaccination in the population, so there may be a false sense of security for some time, and that’s our concern.”
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