Covid lockdown roadmap ‘could be sped up’, Sage expert says despite third wave fears as April 12 phase confirmed

THE COVID lockdown roadmap “could be sped up” despite the growing fear of a third coronavirus wave, a Sage expert said.

There is an argument for getting England out of lockdown sooner if Covid cases and deaths continue to fall at the rate we are currently seeing, Dr Mike Tildesley said.

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Dr Mike Tildesley said that there could be an argument for the roadmap to be ‘sped up’[/caption]

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Boris Johnson said last night that the roadmap out of lockdown is going to plan[/caption]

Dr Tildesley, from Spi-M and a professor of infectious disease modelling at the University of Warwick, said there could be some arguments for lifting restrictions in the road map sooner.

He told LBC today: “I was really pleasantly surprised that when schools open we have managed to keep things in check.

“So I think if these numbers keep going down over the next few weeks there certainly is an argument to say ‘well actually we’re doing really well with the road map, it could be sped up.’

“I would say I would want to be a little bit cautious over the next few weeks as we get beyond this April relaxation to monitor that just to be really sure that cases are continuing to go down.”

Earlier, the expert said on LBC: “Now I will say that if things keep going down at the rate that they are then there certainly is an argument for speeding up the process.

“But we do know that the later relaxations, particularly the May one when people can stay in each other’s homes for the first time for a long period of time, we might expect that could cause a quite significant rise in mixing and potentially rise infections which is why this monitoring is really needed.”

Dr Tildesley added that a third wave of Covid may not have a peak as high as some modelling predicts.

The expert said: “I think we do have very high levels of vaccination now, we do need to remember this, we are protecting our vulnerable.

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All lockdown restrictions are meant to end on June 21, according to the PM’s roadmap[/caption]

“But the vaccines are not 100% protective so when we switch from an R number less than 1 that we have at the moment, to a lot of mixing later on, we may get a resurgence.

“I don’t expect we will have a resurgence of the same scale that we saw in January.

“So then there needs to be some very serious questions asked.

“If we do see a rise in cases, if we do start to see hospital occupancy go up a little bit, are we going to put in controls or is it something that we’re just going to try to manage with local testing and so forth?

“I think that’s the question the Government are going to potentially have to answer as we get towards the summer.”

Last night, Boris Johnson stuck to his guns and told the nation that phase two of unlocking England would commence on April 12.

Despite pressure to speed up the process, the Prime Minister made clear that he would be sticking to the timeline of his roadmap.

Meanwhile, life for Brits won’t return to normal by June despite the lifting of lockdown measures still going ahead, Sage experts have stated yesterday.

Data released by the government scientific advisory board today stated that vaccines “aren’t enough” to squash the Covid-19 virus once and for all.

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Scientists at the University of Warwick shared similar conclusions that a “distinct third wave of infection” would arise due to the current rate of planned unlocking, with hospital admissions peaking between late July and mid-August.

Last week the R rate for the UK was estimated to be between 0.7 and 0.9 and 0.8 and 1.0 in England.

And it has remained relatively constant and below 1 since February 5, having peaked on January 15 at between 1.2 and 1.3

One expert has warned that a third wave of Covid targeting young people could be the start of a “new pandemic.”

Vaccines are currently being rolled out across the globe and in the UK, the elderly and the most vulnerable have been at the top of the list – meaning they have high levels of protection against the virus.

Experts such as Professor Chris Whitty have previously said that the virus will start to infect those who have not yet caught it – as well as people who have not yet received the jab.

He previously said that modelling suggests that there could be another surge in infections “that will find the people who either have not been vaccinated, or the vaccine has not worked”.

Prof Whitty previously told MPs: “Some of them will end up in hospital, and sadly some of them will die. And that’s just the reality of where we are with the current vaccination”.

But one expert has warned that the Kent variant, named B117, is spreading rapidly amongst young people and could therefore result in a third wave of the virus taking hold.

Infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm said: “I believe that, in some ways, we’re almost in a new pandemic.

“The only good news is that the current vaccines are effective against this particular variant, B117.”

 

 

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