Lockdowns ‘unlikely to be needed again’ despite expected rise in cases in autumn
Data from the Office for National Statistics, considered the gold-standard for infection rates, confirmed the first clear drop outside of lockdown. Even normally cautious scientists said that the time of draconian restrictions was probably past
A public health message from the Mayor of London urging people to book a vaccine is displayed on the Piccadilly Circus billboards (Image: Getty Images)
- 10:02, 7 Aug 2021
Lockdowns are unlikely to be needed again as official figures showed a clear fall in coronavirus cases, government scientific adviser have said.
Data from the Office for National Statistics confirmed the first considerable drop outside of lockdown.
However, an increase in cases in September is expected as workers return to offices and school and university terms begin – but there is growing confidence that this can be managed without a return to compulsory social distancing.
In an interview with The Times, Professor Neil Ferguson, once nicknamed “Professor Lockdown” and the first to call for repeated periods of restrictions, said the epidemic was “going to transition quite quickly in a few months to be more something we live with and manage through vaccination rather than crisis measures”.
Although he said shutdowns could not be ruled out, particularly if dangerous new variants emerged, he added: “I think it’s unlikely we will need a new lockdown or even social distancing measures of the type we’ve had so far.”
Professor Ferguson’s comments come despite ministers reportedly drawing up plans for a firebreak lockdown this winter in case the NHS becomes overrun.
Data from the Office for National Statistics confirmed the first considerable drop outside of lockdown ( Image: PA)
Members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) however remain optimistic.https://958737bd3099c551f7f04b3c9746ce76.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html76516486337
Professor John Edmunds of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a notable voice for caution last summer, said the next few months could be managed without restrictions.
“I suspect we won’t have to [impose any more]”, he said.
“The pinch point has always been pressure on the NHS and though it will be awkward for the NHS, so there will be pressure, I very much doubt they won’t be able to cope.”
It comes as millions of Brits are expected to be offered third Covid jabs to shore up protections against the virus under interim advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
The plan, first announced at the end of June, would see the over 70s, the clinically vulnerable, care home residents, and front line NHS and care staff among the first to get a booster.
Millions of Brits are expected to be offered third Covid jabs to shore up protections against the virus ( Image: PA)
Over-50s and anyone entitled to a free flu jab would be next in line if the JCVI experts confirm the move in their final advice this month.
The Daily Telegraph reports that the rollout of booster jabs will start in September, with the aim of all over-50s receiving one by two weeks before Christmas.
It has also been suggested that people could be offered the Pfizer vaccine as a booster, regardless of whether they have previously received the Oxford AstraZeneca jab.https://958737bd3099c551f7f04b3c9746ce76.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html138212091369
But No10 said reports in the Daily Mail that all patients will be offered Pfizer as it is the most effective against the Delta variant were “premature”.
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