UK medical experts urge caution as Covid toll tops 90K
London, Jan 21 (IANS) British medical experts have called on the public to remain cautious despite the progress in vaccine rollout as Britain is still not out of woods in fighting coronavirus.
Their appeal came after Britain on Tuesday reached the grave milestone of 90,000 Covid-related deaths, Xinhua news agency reported.
Liverpool-based Public Health expert John Ashton, who last Spring predicted the virus would lead to at least 100,000 deaths across the country, said the latest figures did not surprise him.
Ashton told Xinhua: “Although the official figure has now exceeded 90,000, if you study the reports from the (British) Office for National Statistics (ONS), more than 100,000 people have already died with Covid-19 listed on their death certificates.”
Ashton said his work as an expert with the World Health Organization (WHO) on outbreaks of contagious diseases such as Swine Flu and Avian Flu helped him see the impact of allowing a virus to get out of control.
Ashton, who had a Covid-19 vaccine a few days ago, said Britain’s vaccination program could help ease the country back to some normality.
The total number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test has reached 91,470 in Britain after another 1,610 were confirmed on Tuesday, according to official figures. Tuesday’s daily death toll was the highest since the pandemic began in the country, the data showed.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the government’s plan to vaccinate all the four most vulnerable groups covering 15 million people by mid-February is on track.
People aged 70 and over and those listed as clinically extremely vulnerable in England have begun to receive the first dose of coronavirus vaccine from Monday.
Hancock confirmed that Britain is aiming to offer all adults the vaccine by September.
However, Ashton said Britain is not out of the woods despite the progress in the vaccine rollout.
“My worry is we are still not at the stage where we can relax what we have been doing. There are still a lot of people working in the NHS (National Health Service) who are off work with illnesses and more patients need urgent hospital care,” he said.
“Last year I would have said we should start seeing some shoots of normal life around March. Now I would say to people if they are planning to book a holiday overseas, don’t book anything before the fall. Perhaps it will be better to consider a holiday in this country,” he said. “We will be well into the summer months before we will start to see a more normal life, but we won’t be totally free until later in the year, around our autumn months.”