There is still “a lot of uncertainty” about whether the government can decide to continue the planned easing of Covid restrictions in England on June 21, an expert said.
Dr. Mike Tildesley of the University of Warwick, a member of the Pandemic Influenza Scientific Group on Modeling (Spi-M) advisory board, appeared at the LBC and was asked if the country was back on track for reopening by that date.
On a personal level, he said, “I think there is a lot of uncertainty about this right now.
“We’re beginning to see signs that cases are increasing, of course, but at the moment we’re obviously still reporting very low levels of hospital admissions and deaths.”
He stressed that there may be a one or two week delay between increases in cases and potentially soaring hospital admissions, but said the country is “in a very different place” from January.
He said scientists “had a lot of work to do” analyzing data on the association between cases and hospital admissions, taking into account the situation with the Indian variant, to provide evidence to the government.
Dr. Tildesley added, “I think there is still a lot of uncertainty … that needs to be resolved in the next few weeks before the government makes that decision.”
Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi said the government would wait for the latest data on June 14th before deciding to ease the lockdown on June 21st.
When asked if this step could be taken if the cases worsened, he told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, “I’m telling you we have to be careful. We have to look at the data and share it with the country.
“Are we still vaccinating on a large scale? Big tick. Are the vaccines working? Yes. But are the infection rates too high for us to continue because too many people are hospitalized? I don’t know the answer to that.
“But we’ll hopefully know for a few more weeks on the 14th.”
He said that if the virus becomes endemic, “we will have to live with a certain amount of transmitted Covid”.