WHO urges countries not to ditch all restrictions at once
WORLD Health Organisation’s special envoy on COVID-19, David Nabarro has warned that countries should not lift all of their coronavirus restrictions on one particular date.
Dr David Nabarro said that the emergence of new variants of coronavirus would continue to pose problems, and that some coronavirus measures would have to be maintained long-term.
“We do have to be prepared for the inevitability that viruses will continue to be a problem for us,” Dr Nabarro told BBC Radio “We’re going to have to really seriously contemplate continuing to practice some degree of physical distancing, some degree of mask wearing, some degree of hygiene, some degree of protecting those who are most at risk, as long as there are these nasty viruses around, whether or not we’re vaccinated.”
In an apparent comment on the UK’s plans to lift all restrictions on 19 July, Dr Nabarro said that it was “not a cool thing” to axe all of the measures on one day.
“It makes people very angry because they want to be able to stop being careful but it’s my advice, and it’s just based on studying these things over the years, is that it is not a cool thing just to ditch our preventative measures on a particular date because we hope that’s going to be associated with less risks – the risks are going to stay,” he said.
Sajid Javid, the new Health Secretary, has said that the 19 July unlocking is the “end of the line” for coronavirus restrictions and that the country will have to learn to live with the virus.
The success of the coronavirus vaccination has contributed to the government’s insistence on lifting the measures, with all over 18s in England, Wales and Northern Ireland now eligible for a jab. So far, more than 44.5 million people have had a first vaccine dose; roughly 85% of the adult population.
However, cases of the Delta variant are on the rise in the UK. According to the most recent government data, the UK reported 97,154 cases in the seven days leading up to 24 June – equating to 145.4 positive tests per 100,000 people.