Govt Scientist Urges End of Restrictions in Summer as Winter Will Be ‘Difficult’: Report
England’s chief medical officer has reportedly told Cabinet ministers to reopen as soon as possible in the Summer as Winter will be “difficult”.
Professor Chris Whitty had said during the government briefing on Monday that currently, he sees no reason why England would not be lifting all restrictions as scheduled on July the 19th.
A source had toldThe Times on Wednesday: “The view among the scientists was that we should get as much open this summer as possible before winter, which will be much more difficult.”
The sentiment attributed to Whitty comes after the chief medical officer had told the NHS Confederation last week that he expected a “further late autumn/winter surge” of the Chinese coronavirus because respiratory viruses thrive in the colder seasons.
The National Health Service (NHS) should “brace for the fact that the coming winter may well be quite a difficult one”, Chief Medical Officer Whitty had said last week.
Professor Whitty’s colleague, Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Valance, had also said that “things like face coverings” may need to be reimposed if there was an increase in infections this Winter.
The spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who had delayed the final ending of restrictions from June 21st to July 19th earlier this month, had said on Tuesday that “Cabinet agreed that once we have completed the road map, we will be able to live with Covid in the future even if cases continue to rise, thanks to the protections provided by the vaccine” — suggesting that ‘living with’ the Chinese virus entails getting back to normal and medical administrators managing hospitalisations for coronavirus as they would for any other seasonal infection.
Likewise, the new health secretary — who replaced Matt Hancock after his resignation following the revelation of a workplace affair — Sajid Javid said last week that he wanted to return to normal “as soon as possible”, adding on Monday that the end date would be the “end of the line” for restrictions and lockdowns. Javid has been trailed as a lockdown sceptic and a fresh break with Hancock, despite all evidence to the contrary.
Prime Minister Johnson has appeared to suggest that there could be restrictions in the future, saying on June 21st, the day that was supposed to be ‘Freedom Day’: “You can never exclude that there will be some new disease, some new horror that we simply haven’t budgeted for or accounted for.”
Meanwhile, members of the influential Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which advises the government on its pandemic strategy, have said that the UK may need more lockdowns in the months to come, and mask-wearing could be a habit Britons will keep “forever”.
SAGE’s Dr Susan Hopkins, who is also the chief coronavirus adviser to Public Health England (PHE), said last week: “We may have to do further lockdowns this Winter. I can’t predict the future. It really depends on whether the hospitals start to become overwhelmed at some point.”
While earlier this month, SAGE’s Professor Susan Michie, an alleged communist, said that “behaviours” such as wearing masks and social distancing would need to be maintained “in the long term”.
Asked to elaborate on how long that would be, Professor Michie responded: “I think forever to some extent because this isn’t going to be the last pandemic.”