- Masks remind people ‘we’re not out of the woods’ yet, says an expert
- UK reporting 44,000 daily cases, six times more than European countries
- But Professor Neil Ferguson doesn’t expect another lockdown in the UK
Professor Ferguson said: ‘No one likes to have their independence undermined by measures, but in everyday interactions it is wise to be cautious – certainly wearing(ing) helps, it reminds people that we Not completely out of the woods yet’
One of the government’s most influential scientific advisers suggested today that face coverings should be brought back to remind people to be vigilant in everyday interactions.
‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson said the masks ‘remind people that we are not completely out of the woods yet’.
All legal Covid restrictions were lifted in England on ‘Independence Day’ in July, bringing an end to mandatory coverings indoors. However, some transportation companies and medical settings still require people – and Number 10 still recommends people wear them in crowded environments.
Ministers are keeping masks, WFH guidance and controversial vaccine passports in their back pockets as part of the government’s ‘Plan B’ if the expected surge in cases this winter puts uncertain pressure on the NHS.
Professor Ferguson, an epidemiologist who sits on SAGE, acknowledged that some measures would have to be rolled back in the event of an increase in infections.
But speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he denied a more widespread shutdown. He added: ‘I doubt we’ll ever be close [the] We were in lockdown in January this year.
Britain reported 620 cases per million people yesterday, six times more than Germany (108 per million), nine times more than France (71 per million), 15 times more than Italy (42 per million) and 19 times more than Spain (33) per million, according to Our World in Data. However, the UK is testing significantly more than other European countries – twice as much as Germany, which is doing the second most tests – meaning it is picking up more cases than others.
Professor Ferguson also called on Britain to follow Europe’s lead in giving teenagers two Covid vaccines instead of just one.
He said: ‘Most other European countries are ahead of us in vaccinating adolescents and they are giving them two doses, not just one. We know that actually two doses are needed to contain the infection and prevent transmission.’
The UK’s chief medical authorities only recommend giving it to children over concerns of a very rare heart inflammatory side effect called myocarditis, which carries a high risk after the second dose.
Nearly 5 Million Vulnerable Adults Don’t Have Their Kovid Booster Vaccine Yet
More than half a million vulnerable people have yet to receive a Covid booster vaccine, official data showed, raising fears about Britain’s ‘challenging’ winter that could see a return to face masks .
Less than a month after the booster program began, only 3.7 million third doses have been given in England as of Sunday, the latest date data available.
But some 8.5 million people currently eligible for a booster dose received their second jab six months ago. These include all healthy, front-line health workers and caregivers over the age of 50 and patients with underlying conditions.
That means 4.8 million people could suffer from weakened immunity as Britain moves into the colder months and faces the double threat of rising cases and the flu.
SAGE advisor ‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, said today that it is ‘important we accelerate’ the booster drive. And Sir David King, who was the government’s chief scientific adviser from 2000 to 2007, said the rollout was progressing at an ‘extremely slow’ pace.
Experts say the rollout has slowed as vaccination schedules become increasingly complex, with Britain giving the first doses to children in secondary schools and running the largest flu vaccination program in history.
Ministers and experts have also suggested that the demand for boosters may be lower than expected.
Britons should prepare for a ‘challenging few months’ after 49,156 infections were recorded yesterday – the highest figure in three months, officials said.
Last night Boris Johnson’s spokesman said there are “currently no plans” to reimpose restrictions, but they are “keeping a very close eye on the latest figures”.
Britain led the world in the initial vaccine rollout, but now lags behind Italy, Spain and France in percentage of the population. That’s because it delayed the launch of jobs for healthy children, while most EU members approved those plans too early.
People over the age of 50 and those who are medically vulnerable can get a booster jab from six months after their second dose. But experts warn that at the current rate the most vulnerable won’t get their third vaccination until the end of January.
Professor Ferguson’s comment came amid apprehensions Booster Drive program is running very slowly.
Nearly 5 million vulnerable adults are yet to receive a Covid booster vaccine, after Downing Street acknowledged the UK is facing a ‘challenging’ winter, official figures showed.
Despite the NHS top-up program being launched a month ago, only 3.7 million of the 8.5m eligible people in England have received a critical third dose.
No10 scientists approved a plan to re-vaccinate all healthy healthcare workers and caregivers over the age of 50 and patients with underlying medical conditions at least six months after their second dose.
Professor Ferguson stressed today that it is ‘important we accelerate’ booster drives to give ourselves the best chance of avoiding rolling back restrictions.
He said: ‘People need to be aware that we currently have high levels of infection…