As published in the Express:
MPs urge Boris Johnson for final lockdown assurance as PM prepares Covid exit plan.
THE GOVERNMENT should only lift the current lockdown if it does not plan to introduce another, a MP has urged.
It comes amid hopes current vaccine measures will be enough to prevent serious illness from the coronavirus, even if they do not stop transmission. The Government is due to publish its plan for taking the country out of lockdown at some point this month.
Tory MP and former Brexit secretary David Davis has suggested lockdown measures should only be eased if officials do not plan to re-impose them.
He told The Telegraph that, if he was a business owner, he might not want to get back to work if rules were relaxed.
However, he added: “But if they said ‘we’re relaxing lockdown and we’re not bringing it back’, I think I would.”
Tory MP Mark Harper heads the anti-lockdown Covid Recovery Group which has previously hit out against Boris Johnson’s lockdown measures.
He told the paper: “The Government basically has to say: ‘We’re not going to stop this by having lockdowns, we have other tools.’”
Both MPs reportedly accepted another lockdown would always be possible at some point in the future, but stressed businesses need reassurances to achieve a rapid economic recovery.
Last month, Boris Johnson said the current lockdown measures would last until at least March 8.
He added that by the middle of this month, officials would know “much more” about how effective vaccines are in “preventing hospitalisations and deaths”.
Now, Professor Andrew Pollard, chair of the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has said “we have to come to terms with the fact” that Covid-19 may still be able to exist and spread despite wider vaccination.
However, he told BBC Radio 4: “The really important point though is that all vaccines, everywhere in the world where they’ve been tested, are still preventing severe disease and death.”
Separately, he told a Parliamentary hearing on vaccines yesterday: “We might need boosters, we might need tweaks every year, but actually we might not. We might be generating enough immunity with the current generation of vaccines to stop severe disease.
“If people have just got the sniffles then I think our job is done.”
Stopping transmission could prove difficult due to new strains emerging around the world.
Last week, Downing Street confirmed it is aiming to have offered everyone over 50 a coronavirus vaccine by May.