‘Wait a few more weeks!’ Prof Devi warns ‘3 uncertainties’ remain over July 19 reopening

July 19: Professor says she’d have waited ‘a few more weeks’

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Professor Devi Sridhar admitted while the worst of COVID-19 was over there were still many uncertainties surrounding the data that could challenge the UK’s successful pandemic response. As a result, Professor Devi wanted a short reopening delay of a few weeks until that data comes in so the Government could make a better and informed decision on lockdown easing. The academic highlighted at least three different contentions to the lockdown easing and appeared on Good Morning Britain to share them. 

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Professor Devi gave her honest assessment of the July 19 reopening date and highlighted three key points which are not yet known. 

She told the programme: “So my gut feeling is optimistic, I think we’re through the worst.

“But I would have said delay several more weeks just to make sure.

“There are three uncertainties we face right now, first, will we see a rise in [cases] older age groups like we’ve seen in younger age groups as Professor Ashton said.

“The second is will we see a rise in hospitalizations – does this mean the NHS will have to cancel routine services?

“Which they might have to do in the next few weeks if those hospitalizations continue.

“What is the NHS telling us, and the third is what is vaccine effectiveness, what is the data out of Israel?

“And right now we are seeing Delta pulling down that effectiveness.

“We need to watch that so would have said let’s delay just a few weeks to get that data in.”

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The Government is facing challenges from all political persuasions on whether the July 19 date should go ahead. 

Labour suggests the move is “reckless” and has called for a more nuanced approach – where public transport would maintain restrictions whereas hospitality venues would not. 

Conservative ministers are also split on whether they will continue to wear masks after July 19. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Environment Secretary George Eustice both say they will no longer wear masks if they are not forced to do so by law. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid told Good Morning Britain he would continue to wear his in crowded enclosed spaces. 

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed in a Monday press conference that the majority of restrictions would be lifted past July 19. 

However, government chief advisors Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance were less positive over the news as they highlighted the rising cases. 

But when challenged on the perceived split within government, Mr Javid said both advisors were on board with the reopening date and the most important thing to note was the case of hospitalisations which has seen a large decrease.

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