THE full easing of lockdown restrictions should be delayed due to “rapidly rising Covid cases”, top doctors have warned.
The British Medical Association has begged Boris Johnson to push back England’s June 21 ‘Freedom Day’ after the number of new variant infections tripled in a week.
It said the fourth stage in the roadmap back to normality should simply not go ahead until there is a better understanding of the implications of the rising cases.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the BMA Council, said: “The UK’s vaccination programme has been a tremendous success, and this, together with the hard work and sacrifices of so many, and measures such as social distancing and mask wearing, has helped us come a long way in our fight against this terrible virus.
“However, case numbers are now rising rapidly, and we know that those who are unvaccinated or have had only one dose of the vaccine remain vulnerable to getting the virus.
“The best protection is only achieved at about two weeks after the second dose, particularly with the Delta variant, and we will not have enough of the population properly protected by June 21.
“With only 54.2 per cent of the adult population currently fully vaccinated and many younger people not yet eligible, there is a huge risk that prematurely relaxing all restrictions will undo the excellent work of the vaccine programme and lead to a surge of infections.
“It’s not just about the number of hospitalisations, but also the risk to the health of large numbers of younger people, who can suffer long-term symptoms affecting their lives and ability to work.”