Thousands of scientists have said the Government’s plans to ease the country’s restrictions would be a “world threat.”
International experts across the globe have sounded alarm bells and said Freedom Day on Monday, July 19 would provide fertile ground for the emergence of vaccine-resistant variants of coronavirus, the Guardian reports.
It was during an emergency summit on Friday that government advisers in New Zealand, Israel and Italy stated their worry about Downing Street’s new policy as 1,200 scientists backed a letter to the Lancet journal warning about possible new variants.
The letter said: “We believe the Government is embarking on a dangerous and unethical experiment, and we call on it to pause plans to abandon mitigations on July, 19 2021.
“The world is watching the current avoidable crisis unfold in the UK,” Dr Deepti Gurdasani, a clinical epidemiologist who is taking part in Friday’s summit, said.
She added on Twitter : “Let’s be under no illusions – we are in a country where our government is taking steps to maximally expose our young to a virus that causes chronic illness in many. Our government is ending all protections for our children including isolation of contacts of cases in schools and bubbles.”
The summit, All the Citizens, was being broadcast live on YouTube. Among those urging the UK government to “urgently reconsider” its plans was Professor Meir Rubin, an adviser to the Israeli government. He spoke out on Twitter about the risks to young people in England.
Professor Shu-Ti Chiou, a former director-general of Taiwan’s health department, said on Twitter: “What does a ‘responsible’ reopen look like? What freedom do we value – the freedom from preventable Covid19 sequelae, or the freedom of not doing anything to protect ourselves?”
Concerns expressed in other countries come after Dr Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England warned that the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 could reach “Quite scary levels” within weeks as cases continue to soar after the lifting of lockdown restrictions.
In a webinar hosted by the Science Museum on Thursday, Professor Whitty said hospital admissions were doubling around every three weeks and that the current low numbers of Covid admissions could rise to serious levels in the next couple of months.
He said: “It doesn’t take many doublings until we’re in actually quite scary numbers again…I don’t think we should underestimate the fact that we could get into trouble again surprisingly fast.”
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New coronavirus infections in the UK are at a six-month high, according to government figures, and the number of people in hospital and dying with Covid-19 are at their highest level since March. Thursday’s data showed 3,786 people in hospital with Covid-19 and another 63 virus-related deaths.
Downing Street, which has defended the lifting all remaining legal restrictions on social gatherings in England on 19 July, is hoping that the rapid rollout of vaccines will keep a lid on the number of people becoming seriously ill.
It will no longer be a legal requirement to wear a face covering in most settings in England, although the Government has said it recommends people to do so in crowded areas.
Transport For London, a number of stores and airlines have all said customers will have to wear masks while with them. Read more on that here.