A scientist has said that “we can’t commit to June” deadline as there has been a rise of 50% in cases in three weeks, with the Indian variant now accounts for 75% of new cases.
Professor Linda Bauld, Chair of Public Health in The Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh, told Sky News that England’s freedom date of 21 June is “too soon.”
She warned that there has been a “big increase” with the Indian variant cases which now accounts for 75% of new positive cases.
The government cannot commit to “the end of June” to reopen England as more data is required as the seven day average for cases “is well over 3,000.”
Sky News asked Professor Bauld if easing of lockdown is achievable, she said, “I think it is very ambitious looking at the national picture.
“The seven day average for cases at the moment is well over 3,000. If you look back to the first week of May we were around 2,000.
“And in some parts of the country including parts of Scotland we have seen a big increase.”
She added, “I know that is not translating yet to large numbers of people in hospital, more people in hospital but there are more in hospital.”
“So looking ahead, the 21 June is very soon.
“And I think to avoid more preventable deaths… we really need to be cautious at the current time.”
Professor Bauld continued, “We can’t commit to the towards the end of June.”
The Covid expert gave a very stern warning and she said, “I really think it is too early to be charging ahead, I would like to see several more weeks data.
“And the kind of evidence I want to see is that these chains of transmission, moving through the system to then people becoming unwell, we really do not want people becoming unwell from this virus.”
She added, “Other countries like Israel that have fully opened up have many more who have full protection from the vaccine and we are just not there yet.”
Professor Ravi Gupta who advises the government has said the UK is in an “early third wave” which has been caused by the “more transmissible” Indian variant.
Professor Gupta was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme are we already in a third wave, he 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.”
The new and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) group member added, “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.
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