Boris Johnson has said he plans to stick like glue to his roadmap to ease the lockdown restrictions of the Covid-19 coronavirus despite science advisers warning it could create a wave of infections similar to that seen in the spring from last year.
The Prime Minister confirmed that pub shops, hairdressers and breweries will reopen from April 12 in England and urged the public not to be complacent when it comes to obeying the rules.
Mr Johnson, outlining the move to the second stage of the roadmap on Monday, said the change was fully justified by the data and he had not seen anything that made him think he should deviate from its intention to remove all restrictions by June 21 at the earliest.
His comments come despite the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) modeling showing that while the second stage of unlocking is unlikely to put pressure on the NHS, the proposed changes for May and June, when the social mix expected to be cleared again, could push hospital admissions to levels seen during the winter peak in January.
The second step in easing the lockdown will see some premises allowed to reopen some of them for the first time in three months from next week, including non-essential stores, hairdressers and nail salons, gyms, while independent or home visits to libraries, community centers, zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas will also be permitted.
Self-contained accommodation, including campsites and vacation rentals, will be allowed to receive guests, and bars and restaurants will be allowed to serve customers outside, but groups will be limited to two households or by the rule of thumb. six.
An expert article from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said their projections suggested that the second stage of the roadmap could lead to a small increase in cases and deaths, but the fourth stage in June, when restrictions should be abolished, could lead to a larger increase in cases and deaths comparable to that observed in the first wave.
They warned that their findings were preliminary and made pessimistic assumptions about the subsequent stages of the roadmap.
But scientists at the University of Warwick also shared a similar conclusion that a separate third wave of infection is occurring due to the current rate of planned unlocking, with hospital admissions peaking between late July and August. mid August.
Sage’s March 31 meeting minutes indicated that there could be a resurgence in hospital admissions of a similar magnitude until January 2021 after subsequent stages of the roadmap.
It comes as England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has warned that the coronavirus will be with us for the foreseeable future, while Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has suggested the pandemic could lead to changes. long-term behavior.
Sir Patrick said better hand hygiene, regular Covid-19 testing and staying away from work when unwell would likely be important basic measures in the future.
In addition to warnings about the impact of his plans to ease the lockdown, Mr Johnson appears poised for a showdown with Tory MPs as the government appeared to pave the way for the use of so-called vaccine passports in the UK. United.
A government document on the provisional findings of a task force review of Covid status certification said they may have an important role to play both nationally and internationally, as a temporary measure.
They won’t be needed for beer gardens to reopen next week or for drinkers to return to pubs next month, but the review, led by Cabinet Minister Michael Gove, appeared to keep the door open to their adoption by the publicans later. Dated.
The eight-page document said it was possible that Covid certificates could play a role in reducing social distancing requirements at hospitality facilities, signaling that if pubs want to be wrapped again, they may need to find ways to verify vaccine passports.
The government has promised to continue consultations with the industry, but the concept angered Conservative MPs.
Former Tory Leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith told Times Radio that new pub controls were a decrease in your logical rights while former Chief Whip Mark Harper warned their introduction would lead to a Great Britain two-speed.
While Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer calls the idea non-British, Mr Johnson, who is due to visit the North West on Tuesday, could face defeat in the House of Commons if he concedes the Covid Recovery Group , made up of lock skeptics. Tories, and accepts a vote on vaccine passports.
The dispute over Covid certificates comes amid reports that the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is considering proposals to restrict the use of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine in young people and that, according to Channel 4 , a decision could be taken as early as Tuesday.
The MHRA said no decision on regulatory action has been taken in relation to reports of rare blood clots after being vaccinated with AstraZeneca jab.
But epidemiologist Professor Neil Ferguson said the recent findings raised questions about the risk-benefit equation of younger people who received the Oxford inoculation.
At Monday’s press conference, Mr Johnson confirmed his intention to offer rapid-result lateral flow tests to everyone in England twice a week in a bid to eradicate asymptomatic transmission as the locking is simplified.
From Tuesday, carriers traveling to England from outside the UK for visits of more than two days will be tested for the coronavirus as the government seeks to rule out worrying variants which are partly to the origin of the surge in the number of cases in Europe.