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Professor Angus Dalgleish, who was one of the 22 signatories of a letter calling for the Government to end Covid-19 restrictions, said he does “not see any reason” to wait until June 21 – as set out in the Government’s road map.
But an expert in public health said that she was “astonished” to see anti-lockdown protests in the UK when the virus was causing “absolute carnage” in other parts of the world.
In an open letter, 22 scientists said “a good society cannot be created by obsessive focus on a single cause of ill-health” and that Covid-19 “no longer requires exceptional measures of control in everyday life”.
The letter, published at the weekend, says that mandatory face coverings, physical distancing and mass community testing should end no later than June 21.
The letter states: “It is more than time for citizens to take back control of their own lives.”
Step four of the Government’s road map for England currently states that all legal limits on social contact will be removed by June 21 at the earliest, when restrictions on large events such as festivals are also expected to ease.
But Prof Dalgleish told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I would like to see the restrictions lifted immediately.”
He said he did not see “any reason” for waiting until June 21, adding: “Every day we have these lockdowns there is more businesses going bust, there are more people whose lives have been ruined because of this lockdown.
“In my own professional capacity, we have people who’ve struggled and carried on with symptoms of cancer, too worried to come in to the hospital to get treatment, and now it’s progressed further and their outlook is even worse.”
He suggested the fear of dying from the virus was “out of proportion” among some people with medical conditions who may have a higher chance of dying from another disease which they have put off seeking care for.
Prof Dalgleish added: “We’ve got tens of thousands of cancer patients who should have been diagnosed and treated, with a much better outcome.”
The NHS has insisted that it has prioritised cancer care throughout the pandemic and has taken steps to encourage people to seek care for worrying symptoms.
Asked about lockdown easing, Devi Sridhar, public health professor from the University of Edinburgh, told the programme: “We still have a lot of unvaccinated 40-year-olds, 30-year-olds – these are people who are still at risk of serious illness.
“I find it astonishing that, while there’s anti-lockdown protests in Britain, we’re seeing across the world absolute carnage in terms of lives being lost outside hospitals because people can’t get care.”
She added: “People want to go to places and do want to enjoy their lives, but they want to do it safely because I think in general the public understands this is such a serious virus and you don’t want to acquire it at any age.”
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