SAGE scientist predicts UK should be 'more or less' free of Covid crisis by end of 2021

11 February 2021, 06:17 | Updated: 11 February 2021, 06:42

A SAGE scientist ha said he believes the UK will be 'more or less' Covid free by the end of the year
A SAGE scientist ha said he believes the UK will be 'more or less' Covid free by the end of the year. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

A leading epidemiologist has predicted the UK should be "more or less free" of the coronavirus crisis by the end of the year.

But Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Government's SAGE committee, says some measures would remain "probably forever".

Professor Edmunds said: "I think we will be more or less free of this by the end of this year... say Christmas."

He added that there was a need to be "very cautious" about foreign travel.

"I think we do have to keep our borders pretty tight at the moment - nobody likes this," he said.

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"But we've identified these significant new variants that are out there and we need to be able to arm ourselves against them and we don't have new vaccines that could potentially arm ourselves against these new variants yet."

Boris Johnson made an appeal at a press conference last night for people to come forward and get vaccinated.

The Prime Minister told the Downing Street press conference: "The reason I make this appeal today for people to come forward in those groups to get vaccinated is not to hit some numerical target but to save lives, prevent serious illness and so the whole country can take another step on the long and hard road back to normality."

Mr Johnson also urged the remaining eligible individuals who are yet to receive a coronavirus vaccine to come forward for jabs.

"With less than a week to go until the target date of Monday the 15th, there's no doubt we've made great strides, with just over 13 million people now vaccinated in our United Kingdom, including one in four adults in England, over 90% of everyone over 75 and over 90% of eligible residents of care homes for the elderly," he said.

"But that still leaves nearly two million people, a population roughly twice the size of Birmingham, that we still hope to reach."Now is the moment to do it."

Mr Johnson said yesterday that people will need "to get used to the idea of vaccinating and revaccinating in the autumn" to fight new coronavirus variants.