Chris Whitty 'blindsided' by Boris as Covid rules set to be scrapped

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England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and scientists are believed to be anxious about the Prime Minister’s announcement as infection rates continue to go up.

On Wednesday the Prime Minister announced plans to ditch all restrictions one month early. This will make England one of the first Western countries to leave all restrictions behind.

All Covid restrictions, including self-isolation rules, are now set to end on February 24 in England.

But the announcement has left the country’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Whitty, and Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance “blindsided”, reports the Mirror.

Professor Tim Spector, the epidemiologist who ran the Zoe Covid study, told Times Radio: “This is more a political type of statement rather than a scientific one.

“I think we have to really look at this in the context, both of politics and science, and also what’s happening, because there is some rationale to this and other countries are doing things similar.

“But it’s clearly a race for the Government to say that Britain is first, Britain is the first to come out of this, Britain has conquered Omicron, our booster programme is world beating etc, etc.

“But I think what they’re relying on is data that is highly disputed scientifically that, really, the UK has come out of this faster and better than anyone else.”

Despite the announcement, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said infection rates are increasing across the country.

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The announcement, which was held in the House of Commons instead of at a Downing Street press conference as has been the usual procedure, was said to have shocked No 10’s scientific advisers.

Many people have publically condemned the PM’s decision, as well as academics that have warned of the “dangers” of ending restrictions too soon.

Dr Stephen Griffin, associate professor at Leeds University, said: “Literally blinding ourselves by removing testing and isolation robs us of the most fundamental means of controlling the spread of this virus.”

The declaration came after figures revealed almost 5,000 fewer people died in England and Wales last month than in the last five-year average for January.



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