Boris Johnson is ‘willing to accept up to 50,000 Covid deaths a year before draconian lockdown restrictions are reintroduced’, government advisers say
- Government advisers argue there is a threshold to reintroducing restrictions
- They said the prime minister has accepted that there will be more than 30,000 Covid deaths next year
- Downing Street has rejected suggestion it has an ‘acceptable’ death toll
Boris Johnson will only re-impose coronavirus restrictions if the death toll climbs to more than 50,000 a year, it was claimed today.
The prime minister has reportedly privately accepted that there could be 30,000 or more Covid-19 deaths in the next 12 months.
Government advisers told the newspaper they believed an acceptable level of deaths had been set at about 1,000 per week.
Downing Street flatly rejected the claim, stressing: ‘There is no set number of acceptable deaths from Covid. This statement is absolutely not true.’
Boris Johnson will only re-impose coronavirus restrictions if deaths move towards 50,000 a year, it was claimed today
The paper said two government advisers believed a cost-benefit analysis would be used by ministers to determine where curbs should be introduced.
A source told the newspaper: ‘The prime minister only plans to introduce another lockdown or new restrictions if the number of deaths per year appears to exceed 50,000.’
The claims came after another 140 deaths from the coronavirus were recorded yesterday as infections and hospitalizations spiked again.
Yesterday’s death toll had jumped 24 percent last Thursday, meaning the country now has an average of 110 virus deaths a day – the highest in five months.
There were also a further 38,281 infections in the last 24 hours across Britain, up nearly five percent from the previous week, according to the government’s Covid dashboard.
The latest hospital data showed that as of August 22, 818 patients had been admitted with the virus — a small increase of 1.7 percent week over week.
There has been a heated debate for months about what level of deaths from the coronavirus should be considered acceptable.
Independent experts warned in June that achieving zero Covid deaths was ‘impossible’.
Experts have previously suggested the UK should focus on reducing annual deaths from coronavirus to levels comparable to the flu
They said the focus should be on reducing deaths to levels comparable to flu – which kills about 17,000 people in England every year and up to 50,000 in a bad year.
That sentiment was suggested by ministers who, on lifting the latest restrictions, said the UK will have to learn to live with the virus.
Cabinet minister Michael Gove said at the time that while ministers should “do everything to protect people”, it was important for the public to “accept” that there would still be Covid deaths after the rules were relaxed.