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LETTING Covid cases to surge to 100,000-a-day risks a new vaccine-dodging variant emerging, experts have warned.
Britain could be opening itself up to more dangerous variants by fully opening up and ditching social distancing on July 19, scientists fear.
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Sir Paul Nurse, director of the Francis Crick Institute, said: "I think it's not unreasonable for the Government to open the country up more given the successful vaccine rollout. But it's not sensible to open up so much so fast when the level of infections is rising so quickly.
"This decision is informed by science but it's a political decision. And some factors are important, like the economy, but some of this could be achieved by keeping some of the checks in place.
"Letting the virus spread in these circumstances encourages a new variant arising in the UK itself. We could create a variant resistant to the vaccine.
"If all controls are lifted and the virus is allowed to let rip, will that result in more resistant variants arising within the country itself which are more difficult to control?
"It makes no sense not to insist on the wearing of masks. We need sensible, well thought out, good plans.
"Of course we have to make the most of the summer but it doesn't mean we have to open the door wide open."
Health Secretary Sajid Javid also warned of new super-infectious mutations – and said the situation is "uncharted territory".
However, he reassured Brits that jabs have "severely weakened" the chances infected people will become seriously ill or die.
Freedoms from July 19:
- Hefty fines for refusing to wear a mask indoors will be dropped as face mask laws binned – but coverings will still be recommended for crowded spaces
- All legal limits restricting social contact will be torn up, such as the rule of six or rule of 30 outside
- Work from home guidance will be dropped in favour of firms' discretion
- Pub rules will be binned – with table service scrapped and social distancing ending
- Strict caps on care home visitors will be ditched – but PPE will stay
- ALL adults will now get their second jab after eight weeks, down from 12
- The one metre plus social distancing rule will be binned – except for ports and for people who have Covid
- It means festivals and full stadiums will finally be able to make a return after lifting all limits on mass events
- Covid certificates will be binned – but individual places can still demand them if they want
“By the time we get to the 19th, we would expect cases numbers by then to be at least double what they are now, so around 50,000 new cases a day," he said in an interview with the BBC.
"As we ease and go into the summer, we expect them to rise significantly. It could go as high as 100,000 case numbers.”
The Delta variant, first identified in India, makes up almost every new Covid case in the UK (95 per cent).
But it only arrived on British soil in mid-April, mostly in international travellers.
It’s biological advantage of being able to spread faster than any other variant allowed it to become rampant.
Vaccines are working to stop most serious illnesses or deaths, but people are still catching the variant fast.
Despite fears over rising cases, Boris Johnson announced on Monday evening almost all restrictions will vanish this month.
But he too warned of 50,000 new daily cases within weeks – and warned: "We must reconcile ourselves, sadly, to more deaths from Covid."
On Monday the government's chief scientific adviser urged Brits to get their jab as the vaccine helps to "break the link" between cases, deaths and hospitalisations, but highlighted that it doesn't completely stop the virus.
Sir Patrick Vallance said: "We are in the middle now of another increase in cases, it's going quite steeply.
"The number of case is increasing, the doubling time is roughly nine days, it's mainly amongst younger people but spreading up the age groups.
"The vaccines have weakened the link between cases and hospitalisations, but it's a weakened link not a completely broken link."
Mr Johnson added: "This pandemic is far from over, it certainly won't be over by the 19th.
"We are seeing cases rise fairly rapidly, there could be 50,000 cases detected per day by the 19th and as we predicted we are seeing rising hospital admissions, and we must reconcile ourselves to more deaths from Covid.
"There's only one reason why we can contemplate going ahead to step 4… and that's because of the continuing effectiveness of the vaccine rollout.
"Every adult will have had the chance to have 1 dose and two thirds will have had the chance to have two."
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