'Life not going to go back to normal in June', says expert

Life “won’t suddenly go back to normal in June,” said a leading expert on Covid-19 coronavirus vaccines.

Professor Adam Finn of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization said the planned further easing of restrictions on June 21 was not a certainty

The University of Bristol scientist told BBC Breakfast: “I think there is currently some uncertainty about the situation. I think in a way there was uncertainty all along.

“It’s always been a kind of tentative schedule and it needs or may need to be adjusted to events as they occur.

“If we are in June, whatever happens on that date, this global pandemic will not be over. It will still go on.

“There will still be cases in this country, in Europe and around the world, so life doesn’t suddenly go back to normal in June because life won’t really get normal until it is brought under control.”

“Life is getting normal, but it’s not normal yet.”

Professor Finn’s comment comes after Public Health England said current vaccines offer high levels of protection against Indian variants of Covid.

And surge testing was rolled out in parts of West London yesterday after cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus were discovered.

People who live and work in certain areas of Harrow, Ealing, Hillingdon, and Brent are recommended to have a PCR test even if they have no symptoms.

NHS Test and Trace will offer testing and genomic sequencing in educational institutions and target areas in the four counties after the B1617.2 strain is identified.

Those who test positive for the variant have been asked to self-isolate and their contacts will be identified.

People with symptoms can book free tests online or by phone. People without symptoms are recommended to visit their community’s website for more information.

Along with increased testing in the districts, what is known as “improved contact tracking,” where tracers look back over a long period of time to determine the route of transmission, is used for those who test positive with a worrying variant.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I encourage anyone living, studying or working in these five boroughs to visit their community’s website for more details and to take a test as soon as they are offered it .

“It is important that everyone accepts the vaccine as soon as possible, and I continue to urge the government to increase the availability of the vaccine to younger age groups who live where it is spread.”

According to data from Public Health England (PHE), cases of the Indian variant of the coronavirus in the UK have increased by more than 2,000 in a week.

The latest weekly data showed there were 3,424 cases of the B1617.2 mutation – an increase of 2,111 from the previous week.

While most of the cases were concentrated in the northwest – Bolton in particular – and London, PHE said it was seeing “clusters of cases” across the country.

Dr. Meera Chand, the Covid-19 incident director at PHE, said it was important that people in the worst-hit areas who had not yet received their second dose of the vaccine came forward as soon as it was offered.

“This is critical given our current assessment that (B1617.2) has grown rapidly in England and is potentially highly transmissible,” she said.

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