Europe

Lifting lockdown in England poses threat to the entire world, say 1,200 scientists

Sajid Javid confirms lockdown easing on July 19th

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On Friday global scientists and government advisers from all over the world gathered virtually to caution the UK that the July 19 “Freedom Day” plans pose a “danger to the world”. More than 1,200 experts signed a letter to the Lancet medical journal warning that Boris Johnson’s plans are “dangerous and premature”.

The Prime Minister has confirmed that, from Monday, July 19, most Covid restrictions will be lifted – but people are urged to proceed with “caution”.

“It is absolutely vital that we proceed now with caution…we cannot simply revert instantly from Monday to life as it was before Covid,” Boris Johnson said on Monday.

The warning comes as fears rise about the Delta Covid variant and its potential to spread globally at pace.

Christina Pagel, director of the Clinical Operational Research Unit of London’s UCL, stressed the concern of a new variant emerging this summer.

READ MORE: Vaccinated Brits in France rage at quarantine rules – ‘Inconsistent!’

“Any mutation that can infect vaccinated people better has a big selection advantage and can spread,” she said.

“And because of our position as a global travel hub, any variant that becomes dominant in the UK will likely spread to the rest of the world — we saw it with Alpha, and I’m absolutely sure that we contributed to the rise of Delta through Europe and North America.”

“The UK policy doesn’t just affect us, it affects everybody — everybody has a stake in what we do.”

Also present at Friday’s summit, clinical epidemiologist Deepti Gurdasani agreed.

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“The world is watching the current avoidable crisis unfold in the UK,” he wrote on Twitter before the event.

Friday saw the highest number of Covid cases recorded in a day in the UK since mid-January.

A total of 51,870 people tested positive for Covid and 49 deaths were recorded.

On July 12, there were 717 people admitted to hospital with Covid symptoms – that is a 43 percent increase over the last seven days.

“Opening up when the pandemic is still propagating doesn’t make sense for protection of the public,” Yaneer Bar-Yam, president of the New England Complex Systems Institute and founder of the World Health Network, said at the summit.

“Everybody is affected once the pandemic is out of control.”

Shu-Ti Chiou, founding president of Taiwan’s Health and Sustainable Development Foundation, raised concern about Long Covid among young people who haven’t been offered the vaccine yet.

She said there are people “left behind” in the Prime Minister’s plan.

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