ECONOMY

Keep sensible, cautious measures in place even after July 19, say doctors

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eading doctors are urging the Government to keep some measures in place after July in England to control the spread of Covid amid the “alarming” rise in cases.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said that keeping some protective measures in place was “crucial” to stop spiralling cases numbers having a “devastating impact” on people’s health, the NHS, economy and education.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he has increasing confidence that he can go ahead with the final phase of his plans to end England’s lockdown on July 19 to “get back to life as close to it was before Covid”.

The new Health Secretary, Sajid Javid earlier this week also confirmed his intention for Step 4 of the road map to go ahead at that point, but he stopped short of confirming to MPs that will mean the end of every measure.

As case numbers continue to rise at an alarming rate due to the rapid transmission of the Delta variant and an increase in people mixing with one another, it makes no sense to remove restrictions in their entirety in just over two weeks’ time

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said easing restrictions was not an “all or nothing” decision and that “sensible, cautious” measures will be vital to minimising the impact of further waves, new variants and lockdowns.

He added: “As case numbers continue to rise at an alarming rate due to the rapid transmission of the Delta variant and an increase in people mixing with one another, it makes no sense to remove restrictions in their entirety in just over two weeks’ time.

“The promise was to make decisions based on data and not dates, and while we were pleased to see the Government react to data in delaying the easing on June 21 last month, ministers must not now simply disregard the most recent, damning, numbers by rushing into meeting their new July 19 deadline.

“We have made excellent progress with both the vaccination campaign and individual action from people across the country over the last 18 months, and the Government must absolutely not throw this away at this critical juncture.”

Public Health England figures show a total of 161,981 confirmed and probable cases of Delta variant have now been identified in the UK – up by 50,824, or 46%, on the previous week.

The Delta variant, which was first identified in India, continues to account for approximately 95% of confirmed cases of coronavirus across the UK.

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