Professor Sir John Bell (pictured), a member of the Vaccines Taskforce, has expressed his optimism that “the horrific scenes that we saw a year ago”, which he says involved the NHS being pushed to breaking point along with mass deaths from the virus, “is now history”. For this reason, Bell supports Boris Johnson’s decision not to tighten Covid restrictions in England before next year. MailOnline has more.
The message came as a leading vaccines expert backed Boris Johnson’s refusal to toughen England’s Covid restrictions to bring them into line with the other home nations, saying that mass deaths and hospitalisations from the deadly disease are “history”.
Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University and a member of the Vaccines Taskforce, said the public had been “pretty responsible” in its response to the spread of the Omicron variant.
Speaking to broadcasters about New Year celebrations this afternoon, Care Minister Gillian Keegan said: “We have always said ‘act cautiously’ since this new variant came among us.
“It is highly infectious and many people will know people who have caught this over the Christmas period.
“So do be cautious, take a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) before you go out. Go to well-ventilated areas; I have been to a couple of outdoor parties actually, people have moved things to outside.
“So just be cautious, but do try to enjoy yourself as well but cautiously.”
It came as new figures showed the number of people in hospital with Covid in England is less than half the same time last year – despite cases being three times higher…
Johnson, who is at his Chequers country retreat, left it to Health Secretary Sajid Javid to face the cameras to announce the decision, although he later tweeted advice to Brits to exercise caution at the new year.
“The Health Minister has taken advice and looked at the data. I think his judgment where we should go in the next few days is probably fine,” Bell told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
“There are a lot of people who are aware that we are in the face of this large wave of disease. The behaviour of people in the U.K., in England in particular, has been pretty responsible in terms of trying not to go out and spending a lot of time exposing yourself to the virus.”
He added: “The horrific scenes that we saw a year ago – intensive care units being full, lots of people dying prematurely – that is now history in my view and I think we should be reassured that that’s likely to continue.”
Boris’s decision last night not to follow the lead of the other home nations in bringing in harsher Covid restrictions ahead of the new year has also been welcomed by Tory MPs who have been at odds with the Prime Minister.
Worth reading in full.