Professor Jeremy Farrar said he did not believe a Covid-19 vaccine would be ready before the festive season that ‘It’s much better for us to be upfront and honest now’.
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A leading UK scientist has warned that Christmas may not be the âusual celebrationâ due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Professor Jeremy Farrar said that families should be prepared for a âvery difficultâ period over the next few months due to a rise in the virus and other infections.
The scientist, who is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said he does not believe a vaccine would be ready ahead of the festive period.
Speaking to Sky News, Prof Farrar said transmission of the virus needs to be reduced now across the whole country, the Mirror reports.Â
He said: âChristmas will be tough this year. I don’t think it’s going to be the usual celebration it is and all families coming together, I’m afraid.
“I think we have to be honest and realistic and say that we are in for three to six months of a very difficult period.
“The temperatures drop, we are all indoors more often, we have the other infections that come this time of year. It’s much better for us to be upfront and honest now.”
Professor Farrar also told Sky’s Sophy Ridge that he believed coronavirus vaccines will be available in the first quarter of next year.
But he warned that it was essential for the UK to now try and reduce transmission to the levels seen back at the start of September.
The Wellcome Trust director said: “I do believe the vaccines will be available in the first quarter of next year, I do believe that monoclonal antibodies to treat patients and save lives will be available in the coming months.
“It’s with that context that I think we need to reduce transmission now and we need to get ourselves back to the beginning of September as a country, not in piecemeal, not in fragments across the country, but as a whole country.”
Asked if he agreed with Cabinet Minister Michael Gove, who just minutes earlier had said there was no need for a circuit breaker, Professor Farrar said “no I don’t”.
He said the action was necessary because the R rate, which measures how fast the virus is spreading, was above 1 across the UK.
He said: “There is no doubt that across the whole country community transmission is going up, hospitalisations are going up and tragically we are seeing deaths increase.
“That is something that is very worrying as we go into winter and we are all indoors more often.”
Mr Farrar said the “second best time” for a national circuit-breaker lockdown is now, with the best time being when it was first suggested by SAGE In September.
Mr Gove ruled out a national “circuit-breaker” lockdown to control the coronavirus resurgence “at the moment”.
Asked if the Government would take the measure on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday, he flatly replied: “No.
“It would seem an error to try to impose on every part of the country the same level of restriction when we know that the disease is spreading more intensively and quicker in some parts of the country.”
Pressed on whether the measure could be taken in the future, he said: “We always look at how the disease spreads and we will take whatever steps are necessary to maintain public health.”
News – Scots warned to expect âtoughâ Christmas due to coronavirus restrictions