ENDING lockdown now is “potentially devastating” as Covid “advances ferociously”, a WHO expert has warned.
David Nabarro, the World Health Organisation’s special envoy on Covid, said “the virus is troubling and dangerous”.
The ending of lockdown could have devastating consequences, an expert has warned[/caption]
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the world is watching the UK as plans go ahead to lift restrictions on Monday.
Dr Nabarro said: “I’ve been watching this pandemic working on this pandemic, fully involved in it now since the end of January last year, and i’ll just say three things.
“Firstly this virus is troubling and dangerous, secondly the pandemic is advancing ferociously around the world and thirdly I don’t think that we have anywhere near got through the worst of it.
“I think that the British experience is extremely important.
“Countries around the world look to the UK for expertise and at the same time high quality decision making when it comes to public health.
“There is a lot of interest in the way that the UK is going to go through the next part in regards to the pandemic.”
It comes after Sage experts urged the Government to be ready to slam on the brakes on lockdown if cases rocket and hospitals struggle.
They warned that while it will soon be left to the general public to use common sense to live alongside Covid, there should be a plan to reverse the lifting if it doesn’t go well.
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Senior Government advisers insist there must be an NHS capacity red line drawn up by ministers – which would see freedoms swiftly limited if the limit was neared.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed yesterday the ending of lockdown will go ahead in a week’s time, despite infections rising throughout Britain.
The Delta variant is continuing to spread, with daily cases in the 30,000’s – but crucially deaths have stayed low and hospitalisations are not increasing at the same rate.
However, senior advisers have warned if the functioning of the NHS is impacted too greatly – if ICU and ventilator bed numbers become high – the Government must be ready to backpedal.
Experts predict the peak will arrive a few weeks after July 19, around mid-August, with young unvaccinated people engulfed in the wave.
They estimate the daily death toll could reach 100 to 200 by mid-August, and 1,000 to 2,000 hospital admissions each day.
Although another expert, Professor Tim Spector suggested the current wave may have already peaked.
Sage also warned there will be a fourth winter wave, but probably smaller than that of winter 2020, which forced the country back into lockdown.
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Mr Johnson told a Downing Street press conference that the pandemic is “not over” as he said mask use will be advised in crowded and enclosed spaces even after legal controls end.
He said that “the unlocking should not be taken as an invitation by everybody to have a great jubilee”.
The PM said: “It is absolutely vital that we proceed now with caution and I cannot say this powerfully or emphatically enough: this pandemic is not over.
“This disease, coronavirus, continues to carry risks for you and your family. We cannot simply revert instantly from Monday July 19 to life as it was before Covid.”