England going through ‘dangerous moment’ as lockdown restrictions ease: Prof Jonathan


LONDON: In wake of apprehensions of new wave of coronavirus pandemic, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer has said that Britain is facing a “very dangerous moment” with the easing of lockdown restrictions, the deputy chief medical officer has said after a growing number of experts questioned the relaxation of rules.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam called for people to show restraint as shutdown measures are being eased in England.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam addresses a briefing at 10-Downing Street. (Nation TV photo)

He told the daily Downing Street press conference that the Government and the public had a “dual responsibility” to prevent a second wave of the virus, adding: “I believe this is also a very dangerous moment. We have to get this right.”

Prof Van-Tam said scientific opinions “always vary to some extent”, and told the press conference that the lockdown easing must go “painstakingly” slowly.

He added: “This is a dual responsibility here of Government to go slowly and carefully and to take the advice from the scientists. “Of the scientists, to watch this whole thing very closely over the next few weeks and, of the public in general to actually follow the guidance. “Don’t tear the pants out of it, and don’t go further than the guidance actually says.”

The comments came as Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced that elite sport events would begin again next week behind closed doors.

Declaring that “football is coming back”, Mr Dowden said: “Football, tennis, horseracing, Formula 1, cricket, golf, rugby, snooker and others are all set to return to our screens shortly.

“I’m glad to confirm today that a third of matches to finish the season will now be free to view including the Liverpool v Everton derby and live Premier League football will be on the BBC for the first time in its history.”

Asked for his response to experts who have expressed concern the lockdown is being eased too quickly in England, Mr Dowden said it must be remembered there are more than 50 scientists in Sage “all of whom will have their different perspectives”.

He told the daily briefing that scientists are “absolutely right to urge caution”. But Professor Robert West, a participant in the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) which advises Sage, emphasised on Saturday that some 8,000 infections and 400 deaths a day are still occurring.