Sir Mark Walport: Covid hospital cases must drop before lockdown is eased

17 January 2021, 12:42

Former CSA: Good news in pandemic battle, but we must be cautious

By Seán Hickey

The Government's former Chief Scientific Adviser has suggested to LBC that the latest lockdown seems to be working, but the NHS is under greater strain than ever.

Professor Sir Mark Walport told Tom Swarbrick that it is "really good news that the vaccine is being rolled out," but added that the distribution must be ramped up further to "see the effects start to happen."

He reminded Tom that "the NHS is under greater pressure than it has ever been" and while "the number of new cases do appear to start to be coming down," they are still alarmingly high and must be brought down further.

The former CSA added that new variants of Covid-19 are a cause for concern and are justifying lockdown remaining in place for longer in order to stop new variants raging out of control.

"It's important we do everything we can to stop the spread of that variant," Professor Walport said of the new Brazilian strain of the virus.

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Tom pushed the former Government adviser on whether he could see lockdown being eased in the Spring. Professor Walport wouldn't be moved, noting that although lockdown has worked so far we cannot predict that far ahead.

"What we've really got to do is work on the basis of evidence," he argued, reminding Tom that "March is a long way away."

Tom summarised that "our lives are going to be severely curtailed" until the vaccine is rolled out on a larger scale. Professor Walport urged caution yet again before any predictions can be made.

He told Tom that "we've really got to see numbers of people going into hospital diminishing," before the conversation of easing can be entertained.

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