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Coronavirus live: Some Yorkshire areas could move tiers before Christmas

Written by on 28/11/2020

Scientists ‘very concerned’ about relaxation of restrictions

Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said it would be a “terrible mistake” to relax restrictions just months before vaccines “start to have an effect”.

Boris Johnson has said that at the first review of the measures in mid-December he would move areas down a tier where there is “robust evidence” that coronavirus is in sustained decline, and that legislation will have a “sunset of February 3”.

Asked about this, Prof Openshaw said the virus must be kept under control.

He told The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC: “We scientists are very concerned indeed about relaxation of precautions at this stage. The rates are still too high, there’s too many cases coming into hospitals, too many people dying.

“And if we take the brakes off at this stage, just when the end is in sight, I think we would be making a huge mistake.

“We’ve all sacrificed so much, everyone has sacrificed enormously in order to get the transmission rate down. With only a few months to go until vaccines start to have an effect I think it would just be a terrible mistake.

“I think we must keep this under control and just behave very, very sensibly. It’s extremely difficult to get this right and I don’t envy the politicians.”