Sage scientist: Britain needs to stay at current restrictions until over-30s double vaccinated

Britain should stay at the current level of restrictions for longer to allow the country to get back to more normality long term, a Sage advisor has said.

Further lockdown easing should be put on hold until more people are vaccinated, a Sage advisor has warned.
Further lockdown easing should be put on hold until more people are vaccinated, a Sage advisor has warned.

Dr Susan Hopkins of Imperial College London, speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, said that she could not rule out further lockdowns next winter, but said she hoped that better drugs, testing and vaccination would mean that the country could manage outbreaks differently.

She said: “I think we are seeing the impact of vaccination and that is good news, and the extra time to vaccinate more people get to dose of vaccination in as many people as possible will hopefully mean that what we're seeing on this way, won't look the same as the previous waves that we've seen in this country”

She said she would like the country to have time to give as many people as possible aged over 30 the chance to have two vaccinations before opening up further.

Professor John Bell, another senior scientist, has said that 70 per cent of adults having two vaccine doses would help stem the spread of the virus.

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Dr Hopkins said: “I think that would be a good figure, we're a little bit away from that yet, but we should be able to hit the 70 per cent figure of having two doses before 19 July.

“I also think that we just have to give this time, because it will take time for everyone to get two doses of vaccination. We're learning more about this virus every day, and really getting all of the adult population having a first dose will be a good step forward.”

She added: “I think we would really like to be able to move to a situation where isolation and quarantine weren't so burdensome on the population. We need to move to a situation that we live with this, and I think that means that we wouldn't normally put people into lockdown for severe cases of influenza. We may have to do further lockdowns since winter, I can't predict the future really depends on whether the hospitals start to become overwhelmed at some point.

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"But I think we will have alternative ways to manage this: through vaccination, through antivirals through drugs, through testing that we didn't have last winter, and, and all of those things allow us different approaches, rather than restrictions on our lives and restrictions on livelihoods, that will move us forward into the next phase of learning to live with this as an endemic, as something that happens as part of the restriction viruses.”

The Scottish Government has said that all Scottish adults will be offered an appointment for their first vaccination by the end of this week, with all first doses set to be administered by 18 July – two weeks ahead of deadline.

It has also pledged that all adults will have received their second dose by the end of September. Two doses are more effective against the Delta variant of the coronvirus.

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