Britain is likely to see a “summer surge” in Covid cases as lockdown restrictions are eased, a top scientist has warned.
Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said modelling showed an increase in cases because a number of adults have still not been vaccinated.
And he warned that the dates set out by Boris Johnson in the lockdown roadmap may have be adjusted if there is a “significant rises in cases.”
At Tueday’s press conference Mr Johnson warned Britons not to “delude” themselves that the threat of the virus had gone and said the “majority of science opinion” thought a third wave of Covid was likely “at some stage this year.”
Asked if he agreed with the prime minister’s assessment, Professor Finn told BBC Breakfast: “I’m afraid he is right yes. The models that we’ve seen on JCVI clearly point to a summer surge in cases as the lockdown is relaxed, because there are still many people in the adult population who’ve not been immunised and who will therefore start to transmit the infection between each other.”
He added that how big a third wave will be “depends on how quickly the vaccine rollout continues forward, the supplies of vaccine and so on, and how many people come forward to receive vaccination, and also it depends on how people behave as the lockdown is gradually relaxed.”
The next planned changes in the lockdown roadmap in England on 17 May include the reopening of hospitality venues, such as pubs, and meeting people in groups of up to 30 outdoors.
When asked if the loosening of restrictions may need to be altered, Professor Finn said it was a “balancing act.”
He added: “People want to have some kind of certainty and businesses want to know how to plan, but on the other hand I think it’s always been presented as as a provisional timetable, based on what actually happens.
“I think if we do start to see significant rises in cases in some parts of the country, they may need to adjust back those dates in order to avoid the situation coming into effect. It’s a bit hard to be definite about this because by definition it’s uncertain.”
Additional reporting by PA
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