Europe

Van-Tam’s influence on Boris Johnson ‘waning’ as Covid restrictions review looms

Jonathan Van-Tam helped 'remove our freedoms' says caller

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Dominique Samuels welcomed Professor Jonathan Van-Tam decision to step down from his position as England’s deputy chief medical officer as a sign restrictions will be lifted on January 26 and a new lockdown is “extremely unlikely”. His shock resignation sent shockwaves through England, but Ms Samuels expressed her delight at the announcement as there is “one less person” pushing for lockdowns. 

Mr Van-Tam, who has been very fastidious in his mission to combat COVID-19, regularly talked up the necessity for more curbs and allegedly took offense with Mr Johnson’s recent rule-breaking partying allegations before stepping aside.

When asked by TalkRADIO presenter Kevin O’Sullivan if she felt Prof Van-Tam had run his course as England’s medical officer, Ms Samuels said: “Yeah, I think so as well.

“Especially when we know that the Prime Minister is extremely unlikely to place us in another lockdown and like I said before January 26 he sets a lift on all those restrictions.

“It’s clear that SAGE scientists, Whitty and Van-Tam they are noticing this sort of waning a bit.

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“The public mood is actually and I think we no longer really want to listen to them scaremongering.”

Sources close to Prof Van-Tam played down suggestions that Mr Johnson’s Number 10 garden party scandal and presumed Covid-breaching measures were the clincher.

But Mr O’Sullivan argued that the fact that his advice fell on deaf ears, coupled with “lawmaker” Mr Johnson facing accusations of being a “lawbreaker”, did not leave him indifferent.

He said: “It is well-known that Jonathan Van-Tam, in particular, took an extremely dim view of anyone who broke the rules because that’s the way those medical people are, they are very autocratic about their little lockdowns that didn’t work.

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“The speculation is that he is furious that the lawmakers Boris and his mates turned out to be the lawbreakers, so he is out of there!”

Ms Samuels reiterated her support of Professors Van Tam and Chris Whitty losing some of their influence after contributing to “removing a lot our freedom” in the country.

She said: “I was personally very, very happy to hear about him quitting.

“That’s just one less person, one less lockdown pusher influencing the Prime Minister in Government. 

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“I know maybe that sounds extreme but the likes of Whitty, the likes of Van-Tam they’ve been instrumental in removing a lot of our freedom, a lot of our fundamental freedoms, especially Chris Whitty.”

She then fired a parting shot at Prof Van-Tam for allegedly miscalculating the risk of Omicron which he described as of “heightened” and “increased” concern at the end of December.

But the new variant arguably turned out to be a lot milder and Ms Samuels said: “Especially with Omicron as well, they were both scaremongering terribly about that and then they ended up being completely wrong, the less of them the better in my view.”

Prof Van Tam thanked everyone but Mr Johnson in his farewell speech.

He said: “My time as DCMO has been the most challenging of my professional career, especially the Covid response.

“We all wish Covid had never happened, notwithstanding, it has been the greatest privilege of my professional career to have served the people of the UK during this time.

“I want to pay tribute to Professor Chris Whitty, the CMO team, my fellow scientists, public health professionals, and clinicians whose support, wisdom, and energy has been inspiring.”

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