The British government’s plan to drop most coronavirus restrictions from July 19 is a “dangerous and unethical experiment”, over 4,000 scientists, doctors, nurses and other professionals have said in a letter published on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all restrictions would be lifted on July 19, branding it as “Freedom Day”. The prime minister added that his government will take a final decision on July 12 after considering all the data, the BBC reported.
Responding to the announcement, the scientists published a letter on The Lancet medical journal, urging the government to reconsider its current strategy.
“Instead, the government should delay complete re-opening until everyone, including adolescents, have been offered vaccination and uptake is high, and until mitigation measures, especially adequate ventilation and spacing are in place in schools,” they wrote. “Until then, public health measures must include those called for by the World Health Organization (universal mask wearing in indoor spaces, even for those vaccinated).”
The signatories of the letter said that unmitigated transmission of the virus will disproportionately affect unvaccinated children and young people, who have already suffered so much because of the pandemic.
They also wrote about the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus and said that exponential growth of cases “will probably continue until millions more people are infected, leaving hundreds of thousands of people with long-term illness and disability”.
The World Health Organization had designated Delta as a variant of concern on May 11 and predicted that it will rapidly become the dominant strain worldwide.
“The government’s strategy provides fertile ground for the emergence of vaccine-resistant variants,” the letter said. “This would place all at risk, including those already vaccinated, within the United Kingdom and globally.”
Covid-19 surge in the UK
The United Kingdom on Wednesday reported more than 30,000 new coronavirus cases for the first time since January.
Covid-19 infections are set to surpass the winter peak of 68,000 a day within a fortnight and may reach six figures before the end of the month, The Guardian reported.
On June 11, Britain’s health body Public Health England said that the Delta variant has been driving the fresh surge, with the strain accounting for 96% of new Covid-19 cases in the country over a one-week period.