Government 'roadmap' out of lockdown based on 'dodgy assumptions'

23 February 2021, 08:14

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The Government's road map for lifting Covid-19 restrictions is based on "dodgy assumptions", the leader of the Covid Recovery Group of lockdown-sceptic Tories has claimed.

MP Mark Harper told LBC's Nick Ferrari that delays to lifting coronavirus restrictions were due to the Government "understating" the performance of the vaccine, based on models it had looked at.

The Forest of Dean MP said: "The biggest flaw is they assume a very low uptake of the vaccine.

"We know the uptake of the vaccine is over 90% in the top groups that have been vaccinated, above 95%, they've assumed 15% of the population don't take the vaccine.

"I have two problems with that, one is that isn't realistic, that's not what's happening, but secondly there is a real question about whether the rest of the country should be held back for two months because some people choose not to take the vaccine."

He added: "The Government seems to have looked at some models with dodgy assumptions and have effectively delayed opening the country by two months."

The conversation comes after Boris Johnson announced a four-stage plan to lift England's coronavirus restrictions by June 2.

The Prime Minister told MPs the approach was "cautious but also irreversible", with the impact of the vaccination programme replacing the need for lockdown measures.

He said a "wretched year would give way to a spring and a summer that will be very different and incomparably better".

In the first phase, all pupils in England's schools are expected to return to class from March 8, with wider use of face masks and testing in secondaries.

Socialising in parks and public spaces with one other person will also be permitted from that date.

A further easing of restrictions will take place on March 29 when the school Easter holidays begin - with larger groups of up to six people or two households allowed to gather in parks and gardens.