Minister says evidence does not support more Covid measures

Minister says evidence does not support more Covid measures

Minister says evidence does not support more Covid measures

According to a cabinet minister, the government will regularly review its decision not to impose further Covid measures in England.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said the evidence did not support more interventions at the moment.

Prof Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, told BBC Breakfast that in time people with Covid should be allowed to “go about their normal lives” as they would with a common cold.

“If the self-isolation rules are what’s making the pain associated with Covid, then we need to do that perhaps sooner rather than later,” he said.

He suggested that “once we’re past Easter” self-isolation rules may relax depending on the scale of the disease at that time.

He went on to tell BBC Breakfast that Covid “is only one virus of a family of coronaviruses, and the other coronaviruses throw off new variants typically every year or so, and that’s almost certainly what’s going to happen with Covid – it will become effectively just another cause of the common cold.

“We’re not going to be doing daily reporting on cases of the different causes of the common cold going forward, of which Covid is one.”

Contrary to Professor Hunter’s statements, scientists advising ministers are concerned the government may be taking an overly optimistic approach when it comes to restrictions.

England has not gone as far as the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – which have all introduced further restrictions this week.

On Monday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said people should remain cautious and celebrate outside on New Year’s Eve if possible. He said the government would reassess whether more measures were needed in the new year.

Mr Eustice went on to state that if hospital admissions did continue to increase then ministers would have to act.

Pubs, bars and restaurants have been hard hit in the run-up to Christmas, due to mass cancellations over Omicron variant fears.

UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the decision to not go beyond Plan B measures in England would give “a real lifeline” to many.

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Ellie joined Gi Media in July 2021.