Lockdown: Expert says ‘there’s an argument for speeding up’
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Professor Mike Tildesley from the University of Warwick explained the dramatic fall in Covid cases and deaths could allow the country to reopen earlier than the June 21 date. The government adviser added the roadmap was put in place to monitor how lifting restrictions would affect infection rates. But the professor admitted there was scope to change the rules if it was made clear that measures like the vaccination programme dramatically halted the spread of the disease meaning many could see life return back to normal quicker.
Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC, Professor Tildesley discussed the roadmap out of lockdown and how cases and deaths have fallen.
As of April 6, 2,379 cases new cases and 20 deaths were reported as over 31 million people receive their first vaccine dose.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed earlier this week that the four tests have been met to lift restrictions on April 12.
But Mr Johnson faces strong opposition – including from his own MPs – over the introduction of vaccine passports to reopen parts of the country and to quell the spread of COVID-19.
On the subject, Professor Tildesley told Mr Ferrari: “I totally understand people’s frustration with it seeming to be really slow as we ease the way out of this.
“I think my really my key point on this is we need to make sure that we don’t go in reverse as it were.
“We thought we keep this trajectory with the roadmap and if we want to avoid [going in reverse] we need to be able to monitor the situation at every step of the relaxation.
“Now unfortunately it takes a few weeks to do that whenever there’s a policy change it takes about two to three weeks before we see any evidence of that change in cases and possibly a week or two more.
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“So we can observe what happens to hospital admission to people who sadly died from the disease, so that’s where this five weeks [format] comes from.
“It seems like an insignificant period of time, 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 rise, a quite significant rise in infections which is why this monitoring is really needed.”
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Vaccine passports – also called Covid Status Certificates by the Government – will be trialled at several upcoming events.
The document will show whether someone has received a vaccine or has developed immunity due to developing antibodies.
Non-essential shops and outdoor hospitality will reopen on April 12 in one of the first steps towards a normal life.
Social gathering rules remain the same as people can only meet in groups of six or two households.
The Prime Minister said he would be visiting a pub on April 12 to join in with new rules.
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