Covid-19 restrictions must continue until 50% of population inoculated: Expert

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Vaccination alone will not be able to bring down Covid-19 levels in the UKto “very low”, said Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, as cited in The Wales report.

He stated that Covid-19 restrictions may have to remain in place until 50 per cent of the population is inoculated.

During a press conference at the Science and Media Centre, he said: “We actually need to have the absolute amount of virus circulating to be very low.”

“And we won’t do that by vaccination alone until we’re getting 50 per cent of the population vaccinated or more, and that’s going to be quite a bit of a long way off yet. So, I fear that the sort of restrictions we have, the non-medical interventions, are going to need to be carried on,” he noted.

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Prof Evans added: “I think if people take these seriously, then it’s possible for various economic activities to go ahead, but you have to make sure that you are keeping to the non-medical interventions, being aware and behaving as if every person you contact has got the virus. And that you have it as well.”

“And when you behave in a way that realises that, and that the consequences for either you or the person around you getting the virus can be very serious, then it changes people’s behaviour.

“And we’re going to have to go on doing that for quite a long time,” he further added.

Social distancing

Adam Finn, professor of paediatrics at the University of Bristol, also stated that if elders are to be vaccinated first, social distancing may have to continue for some time.

He explained: “I think the modelling is very clear that even if you had high coverage and high levels of protection in the high-risk groups, you would still see epidemics, and large numbers of hospitalisations and deaths if you relax the measures before you have a broader control of viral circulation in the population at large.

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“So, I think the idea that you can immunise a large proportion of the elderly and then kind of go back to normal is misguided. I think that none of the models suggests that that’s going to be possible,” he added.

This comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the authorities have vaccinated around 3,50,000 people in Britain by last week, and plans to inoculate 5,00,000 people by this year-end. He also cautioned the nation about the new strain of the virus prevailing in the country that has given a sharp rise to the number of Covid-19 cases.

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