Boris Johnson ‘under pressure from experts to keep a social distance’

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Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance ‘pressure Boris Johnson to stick to social distance rules for another year’

  • The government’s chief scientific advisers said they want the social distance to be maintained
  • Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick said they were pressuring Boris Johnson
  • No10 said today that the prime minister ‘is taking a series of advice from medical professionals’

Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance are putting pressure on Boris Johnson to make social aloofness rules apply for another year, it was claimed today.

The Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser are reportedly in active discussions with the Prime Minister on whether to enforce long-term restrictions.

Downing Street said in response to the allegation that the prime minister is “seeking a range of expert opinions.”

Boris Johnson, pictured today visiting an AstraZeneca facility in Macclesfield, is reportedly under pressure from experts to uphold social distancing rules

Boris Johnson, pictured today visiting an AstraZeneca facility in Macclesfield, is reportedly under pressure from experts to uphold social distancing rules

Sir Patrick Vallance

Sir Patrick Vallance

Professor Chris Whitty

Professor Chris Whitty

Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty would both urge the Prime Minister to enforce social distance rules for another year

A senior source told Sky News that there is a “debate” underway between Prof. Whitty, Sir Patrick and Mr. Johnson about how to keep infections low as lockdown rules are relaxed.

The two experts reportedly believe that social distancing should be maintained for 12 months, while the prime minister is against such a move.

A senior government figure told the broadcaster, “Hey [the PM] wants to bring life back to normal.

So he’s willing to go for the certification and do it for a living. If you reopen pubs and restaurants at 40% capacity, they will go out of business anyway, so part of the closed-door debate is whether or not social distances should be cut in exchange for passports. That’s part of the battle now. ‘

When asked whether Prof Whitty and Sir Patrick are pressuring Mr. Johnson, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “As we have said before, the Prime Minister is taking a range of opinions from experts and those medical professionals.

‘We have outlined our plan in the roadmap and you have what the prime minister said yesterday about the fact that we haven’t seen any evidence or data yet, which means we have to move away from all the timings in the roadmap.

“But as we go further, not just the roadmap, but later in the year, we will of course keep an eye on the latest scientific evidence and medical data.”

Ministers yesterday raised the prospect that some social distance and work-from-home rules will continue to apply after the lockdown officially ended in June.

Initial findings from a new government review, the “degree of relaxation” of measures in place since January will be related to the success of the vaccine introduction and a final decision on Covid passports.

The hopes were high that by the date of June 21, which had been declared the official end of the lockdown, all remaining social distance measures would be lifted across England.

But the document stated: ‘The review looks at key basic measures, including how and when the 1m + rule can be safely lifted or changed and related COVID safe measures, as well as guidelines for working from home.

It is also looking at what guidance can be provided to enable individuals to make informed personal choices.

The conclusion will depend on the latest data and evidence on the state of the pandemic and the impact of vaccine effectiveness as the country progresses through the roadmap.

“As outlined above, the degree of relaxation in social distance measures is linked to the questions examined by the COVID Status Certification Review, including whether COVID status certification can enable changes in social distance.”

Senior SAGE sources said yesterday that while vaccines prevent the vast majority of people from getting sick and dying from the coronavirus, they are “not good enough” to see all the curbs disappear “without a major epidemic.”

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