UK 'has responsibility to drive down coronavirus' says expert
The warning comes from Christina Pagel, a member of the Independent SAGE group, who said she believes the whole country could see “Covid part three” unless people isolate and prevent the new strain of coronavirus from spreading. The health experts argued the UK has a “responsibility” to not let the virus “mutate and get worse.” She told Channel 4 News: “If the virus carries on circulating at a high-level you are creating opportunities for the virus to mutate and escape the vaccine.”
“So we have to go now to for a really strong elimination strategy that is the way to keep us safe and to keep the world safe.
“We have a responsibility not to let it mutate further.
“We don’t want to be doing Covid part three in 2024, we have to stamp it out now.
“That means using the vaccine that we know works, vaccinating as many people as we can as quickly as we can and driving cases down.”
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Speaking to host Krishnan Guru-Murthy ahead of Boris Johnson’s public address on Monday evening, Professor Pagel said: “The minimum is to go back to where we were in March which means closing schools, closing universities, don’t leave home all of that.
“But that on its own is not enough. Maybe in the spring, R got down to about o.6 at it’s lowest and with the new variant we know it can add up to 0.4, 0.5 on.
“So that wouldn’t bring cases down on its own so you have to look at where else are people transmitting.
“We know those essential workers, those working outside the home, those that have no choice like delivery people, people in factories, people in shops and retail, all where at higher risk in wave one.
‘We need to protect them.”
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Asked by Mr Guru-Murthy if simply vaccinating all over-65s would “solve the problem,” Professor Pagel replied: “You have solved one of the problems, you probably will bring deaths down massively.
“You haven’t solved the problem of long Covid which we know effects perhaps ten per cent of people who get it regardless of age.
“And you haven’t stopped the problem of mutation. If it then mutates to make the vaccine not effective then everyone who was vaccinated before is no longer protected.
“You can’t just say, ‘vaccinate the twenty million vulnerable people and let everyone else get it,’ and say that’s fine.”
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The Prime Minister announced a third national lockdown for England on Monday night after Covid infection levels rose to staggering new highs.
England has seen the daily positive Covid test numbers reach 50,000 for several days running, prompting the Prime Minister to issue an urgent stay at home warning.
Speaking during a televised address in Downing Street, Mr Johnson said the new variant of coronavirus, which is up to 70 per cent more transmissible, was spreading in a “frustrating and alarming” manner.
Mr Johnson told the public to follow the lockdown rules immediately before they become law in the early hours of Wednesday.
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