Covid wave in Europe should serve as ‘warning’ to UK, says SAGE advisor

Restrictions have been ramped up for unvaccinated people in some parts of Europe

Emily Atkinson
Sunday 21 November 2021 08:31
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Covid wave in Europe should serve as ‘warning’ to UK, says SAGE advisor

Europe’s Covid wave should be “a warning to us”, a SAGE advisor has said as he urged those in the UK yet to be fully vaccinated to get the jab.

Professor John Edmunds, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and member of SAGE, told Sky News how soaring cases in central Europe show “the importance of vaccination.”

It comes as infections have been rising across parts of the continent, with some countries experiencing a record number of daily cases in recent weeks.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that Europe was the only region in the world where Covid-related deaths increased last week, after the continent saw a rise in fatalities of 5 per cent.

Prof Edmunds told Sky: “What you see now in central Europe with these rapid increase in cases, you see the importance of vaccination.”

Mr Edmunds said the UK was unlikely to be hit in the same way as Europe, because it “is in a slightly different position”.

He said: “Frankly here in the UK, we’ve had high rates of infection for many months now so we’re in a slightly different position to Austria and Germany and so on.

“I don’t think things will quite happen in the same way here as they have done there. But it is a warning to us.

“I think it’s pretty clear that immunity does wane. It’s very clear the booster doses do give a very clear boost to your immune system.”

Restrictions have been ramped up for unvaccinated people in some parts of Europe.

In Austria, anyone older than 12 years old who has not been jabbed against Covid, or recently had the virus, is now banned from leaving their home unless it is for specific activities, such as going to work, shopping or for a walk.

A subsequent anti-lockdown march in Vienna today attracted tens of thousands, many of them far-right supporters, according to recent estimates.

By mid-afternoon, the crowds had swelled to roughly 35,000 people, according to the police, and were marching down Vienna’s inner ring road before heading back towards the Hofburg.

A police spokesman said there had been fewer than 10 arrests for breaches of coronavirus restrictions and the ban on Nazi symbols.

Authorities in Rotterdam arrested 51 people following a violent protest against the country’s coronavirus restrictions on Friday night.

Dozens were arrested after the riots in Rotterdam

Under a new law the government wants to introduce, businesses would be allowed to restrict the country’s Covid passport system to people who have had both doses of the vaccine or have recently had the virus. It would exclude those who test negative.

One officer was hospitalised with a leg injury sustained during the riot that broke out over the plans, while another was treated on-site by ambulance staff and “countless” others sustained minor injuries.

Two rioters were also hospitalised, after being hit by bullets. An investigation is underway to determine if they were fired by the police.

Thousands of people also gathered in Amsterdam’s central Dam Square to protest the government’s Covid restrictions, despite organisers cancelling the demonstration in light of the violent protests in Rotterdam on Friday night.

It comes after the WHO said it is “very worried” about the spread of coronavirus in Europe.

Dr Hans Kluge, regional director of the WHO, warned half a million more people may die due to the virus by March if countries continue “business as usual”. “Covid 19 has become once again the number one cause of mortality in our region,” he told the BBC.

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