Scientists Warn Against Lifting UK Lockdown Too Soon

Scientists Warn Against Lifting UK Lockdown Too Soon

Scientists Warn Against Lifting UK Lockdown Too Soon. image: Pixabay

Scientists Warn Against Lifting UK Lockdown Too Soon.

SCIENTISTS say easing restrictions too soon could allow more sinister mutations of the virus, that the vaccines would have little effect on, to escape and seed a new unstoppable outbreak. Experts have urged caution over the easing of lockdown restrictions, warning that relaxing measures too early could lead to another surge in cases and threaten the NHS with collapse.

Steven Riley, a member of the Spi-M modelling group which advises the government, said that despite the success of the vaccine rollout, scientists were “genuinely worried” about the prospect of another wave.

“If we were to allow a very large wave of infection, that wave will find all the people who couldn’t have the vaccine for good reason, those people who had the vaccine but unfortunately didn’t give them the protection they need. Nearly 20% of the UK’s population is over 65 years or older. If you do some simple back-of-the-envelope [calculations] for a vaccine that is very good but not perfect, there is the potential for another really substantial wave.”

Asked if that wave could be as large as the one the UK is currently emerging from, Riley said: “I don’t believe anyone expects we’re suddenly going to lift all the social restrictions … but if for some reason we did choose to just pretend it wasn’t here any more at some point then yes, there is the potential to go back to a wave that’s a similar size to the one we’re in now.”

It comes as reports circulate of a government “three-state plan” for reopening the economy, which could see pubs, hotels and restaurants in England reopening by Easter weekend.

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Tony Winterburn

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