Scientist expresses concern about lack of new restrictions following surge in cases
A leading virologist has warned that the UK’s mismatched Covid restrictions risk spreading the virus verder, after the government announced there will be no new measures in England before the new year.
University of Brighton microbiology lecturer Dr Sarah Pitt said it did not make sense for the four nations to have different coronavirus rules as the Omicron variant infects record numbers of people every day.
She told LBC Radio: “If people can’t go to a New Year’s Eve party in Wales or Scotland, they’ll just tip over the borders into England, won’t they, thus potentially taking the virus and spreading it … and then taking it back home.
“So it makes sense to have one set of measures across the whole country and I think it does make sense to have some measures to try and stop the spread of the virus at this point.”
Sy het bygevoeg: “I know personally more people who’ve been off sick with Covid in the last month than the whole of the pandemic put together.
“So although there is a balance between the economy and health, they’re not mutually exclusive – it’s not one or the other.
“We’ve actually got to take the virus seriously, and I’m not talking about full lockdowns, I’m just talking about a few measures for some things to just try and stop the spread of this really horrible, nasty virus, just at this moment.”
Maandag, New Year’s parties were given the green light as ministers announced there will be no new coronavirus restrictions imposed before the end of 2021.
The decision announced by Sajid Javid, the health secretary, leaves England out of step with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which have all brought in new post-Christmas controls.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said that the early evidence suggested Omicron was not leading to a big increase in hospital admissions, as happened in previous waves.
But some scientists have expressed concern about the lack of new restrictions following the surge in Covid cases.
Government figures showed there were a record 113,628 new Covid cases in England on Christmas Day, met 1,281 new Covid-19 hospital admissions – up 74 per cent week on week and the highest number since 16 Februarie.
Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, suggested people with Covid should be allowed to “go about their normal lives” as they would with a common cold.
Asked on BBC Ontbyt about NHS staff shortages due to workers having to isolate, hy het gesê: “This is a disease that’s not going away, the infection is not going away, although we’re not going to see as severe disease for much longer.
“Uiteindelik, we’re going to have to let people who are positive with Covid go about their normal lives as they would do with any other cold. And so, at some point, we’ve got to relax this.
“If the self-isolation rules are what’s making the pain associated with Covid, then we need to do that perhaps sooner rather than later. Maybe not quite just yet.”