‘Quite Scary’ Prospects or ‘Highly Probable’ Worst Is over? Chief Medic and Boris Can’t Agree on Govt Message

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 12: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives an update on relaxing restrictions imposed on the country during the coronavirus covid-19 pandemic at a virtual press conference inside the Downing Street Briefing Room on July 12, 2021 in London, England. The government plans to end most Covid-19 …
Daniel Leal-Olivas-WPA Pool/Getty Images

The prime minister and his chief medical officer gave rather mixed messages within hours of each other over whether the United Kingdom is likely to face another wave of coronavirus.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that it was “highly probable” that “the worst of the pandemic is behind us”.

Mr Johnson said: “I wish I could tell you that this pandemic was over, and I wish I could say that from Monday, we could simply throw caution to the winds and behave exactly as we did before we’d ever heard of Covid…

“But what I can say is that if we are careful, and we continue to respect this disease and its continuing menace, then it’s highly probable — and all the scientists are almost all agreed on this — the worst of the pandemic is behind us.”

However, speaking late on Thursday during a webinar hosted by London’s Science Museum, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said that cases of the Chinese coronavirus could reach “quite scary numbers” within weeks and that the United Kingdom was “not out of the woods yet”.

Professor Whitty said: “I don’t think we should underestimate the fact that we could get into trouble again surprisingly fast.”

Whitty continued, in comments reported by the Associated Press: “We are not by any means out of the woods yet on this, we are in much better shape due to the vaccine program, and drugs and a variety of other things.”

“But this has got a long way to run in the UK, and it’s got even further to run globally,” the chief medical officer added.

Johnson’s remarks that it was “highly probable” the country was past the worst part of the pandemic come despite the prime minister recommending continued mask-wearing, the government advising pubs and a host of other hospitality venues to use the NHS Covid Pass as a vaccine passport, and MPs in the House of Commons voting to force care home staff to be vaccinated.


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