Monday, February 26

Expert warns over rush to lift restrictions as Javid set to scrap rules

Long Covid will increase in the UK, particularly among the young, unless infection rates are kept down, the government’s chief medical adviser has warned.

Chris Whitty urged the nation to push hell for leather to make sure everyone is vaccinated as he predicted a difficult winter ahead.

The deaths from Covid I think are mercifully going to be much lower in this wave compared to the previous ones as a proportion of cases but long Covid remains, I think, a worry, he told a conference organised by the Local Government Association.

He made his comments after the British government said it will scrap the need for face coverings and social distancing from 19 July, while admitting the pandemic was very far from the end.

The new health secretary Sajid Javid also announced that those who have receive both doses of the vaccine will not have to self-isolate if they are a close contact of a new positive case of Covid from 16 August.

However a World Health Organization (WHO) expert has warned that the rush to lift coronavirus restrictions is very premature. Dr Mike Ryan, the executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies programme, added: I think we’re going to pay a price for that.

Covid cases could surge to 200,000 a day even as England abolishes most of the remaining coronavirus restrictions, according to Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).