Professor Lockdown says you CAN enjoy summer: Neil Ferguson is ’80 per cent sure’ Covid will be driven to ‘very low levels’ in next few months
- The scientist says he believes Britons can enjoy summer with few restrictions
- He said there is a 20 per cent chance of a strain derailing vaccine programme
- Saturday’s Covid infections were eight per cent down on the previous week
Neil Ferguson says he is ’80 per cent sure’ that Britons will be able to enjoy the summer this year with vaccines driving down the rate of Covid-19 infections.
The scientist, known as Professor Lockdown, believes there will be very few restrictions in place thanks to the jab rollout which has seen a third of the population already inoculated.
He was speaking on the first anniversary of his warnings that Covid rates in the UK were far higher than the government had first estimated.
Neil Ferguson says he is ’80 per cent sure’ that Britons will be able to enjoy the summer this year with vaccines driving down the rate of Covid-19 infections
Mr Ferguson told The Observer: ‘It is highly likely that we will have driven Covid down to very low levels of case numbers, and we can begin enjoying summer.
‘We will still need to monitor things very carefully and there has yet to be a proper discussion about what we do in autumn.
‘Certainly, I think it is highly likely we will have to roll out a booster vaccine to protect against possible new variants.’
He added that despite his confidence, he said there is a 20 per cent chance things could go wrong with new variants potentially undermining the vaccines.
But the scientist said he believes the government has learned its lessons and Britain’s summer looks ‘promising’.
Britain reported 121 new Covid deaths on Saturday, taking the number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive test result to 125,464, daily government figures showed.
A further 5,534 people tested positive for the disease, down from 6,040 last Saturday, while the number of people who have received at least one vaccine dose has risen to 23.684 million from 23.315 million the day before.
Last Saturday 158 deaths were recorded – a 45 per cent reduction on the 290 deaths recorded the weekend before that.
The latest figures from the Government act as further proof of Britain’s successful vaccine roll-out.
Mr Ferguson’s comments come as Ministers are planning to hold ‘pilot’ events for the reopening of football stadiums, nightclubs and theatres ahead of Boris Johnson’s ‘freedom day’ in June.
The events, starting with the FA Cup semi-finals and the world snooker championships on April 17, are expected to use a combination of pre-admission Covid testing and social distancing to allow the return of crowds – and give the battered economy a much-needed boost.
The Prime Minister will then receive a report on the results of the pilots, before giving the green light to the end of all restrictions on June 21.
David Silva of Manchester City and Vincent Kompany celebrate with the FA Cup Manchester City v Watford FA Cup Final football match, Wembley Stadium in 2019
Last night, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said Ministers were working ‘flat out’ to get people ‘back to enjoying what they love’
Ministers hope a full programme of sporting and cultural events over the summer will prove a useful distraction if the foreign travel industry is unable to open up fully before the autumn.
Last night, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said Ministers were working ‘flat out’ to get people ‘back to enjoying what they love’.
Whitehall sources said between 10,000 and 20,000 people could be admitted to football stadiums if they can demonstrate a negative Covid test, with fans being allowed to travel together to the matches.
The Premier League is planning to allow fans to attend games during the final two rounds of matches this season, with supporters allowed into stadiums from May 17.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said that to ensure all 20 clubs were able to play a home game with fans present, a round of fixtures would be shifted to May 18-20, with the final round of games now on May 23.
A comedy club and nightclub in Liverpool will also be used in the pilot, with revellers allowed to dance in a non-socially distanced way if they can provide evidence of a negative test result.
It has not been decided whether masks will also be required.
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