Final Lockdown Easing in England Is Not Inevitable

While authorities are confident in the upcoming removal of the lockdown, scientists warned the new coronavirus may continue to evolve for years to come.

On Tuesday, Adam Kucharski, a member of Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M), warned that the final step of easing the COVID-19 lockdown in England on June 21 is not “not inevitable.”2

“We have to avoid seeing this as a weather forecast where it’s inevitable, things are going to be open, it’s inevitable,” said Kucharski, an infectious disease expert from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

“Of course, it doesn’t make that an easy decision, keeping things in place or introducing things incurs harm as well. But I think we do have to look at the patterns we’re seeing very seriously, and think about where that may leave us in a couple of months,” he added.

The SPI-M gives expert advice to the Department of Health and Social Care and the wider British government on scientific matters relating to Britain’s response to an influenza pandemic or other emerging human infectious disease threats.

Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap, June 21 is the day all restrictions are due to end in England, but the spread of the Indian variant has prompted concern that the plan could be delayed.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he is “increasingly confident” England is “on track” for the British government’s roadmap exiting the coronavirus lockdown. So far, over 70 percent of adults in Britain have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine.

Nevertheless, scientists warned that the new coronavirus may continue to evolve for years to come. Eventually, current vaccines will likely fail to protect against transmission or even against disease caused by newer variants.

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