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THE WRONG DIRECTION: Coronavirus cases are on the rise, and are expected to keep rising

THE WRONG DIRECTION: Coronavirus cases are on the rise, and are expected to keep rising


The UK is not going in the right direction on coronavirus cases as infections rise across the country, a Government health chief has warned.

Dr Jenny Harries, the chief executive of the newly created UK Health Security Agency, said that modelling data suggests there will be a further rise in Covid-19 cases in the coming weeks.

However, she stressed it was still too early to make a decision on ending lockdown on June 21 and it will take another week before a clearer picture emerges.

It comes as the latest data from Public Health England (PHE) shows case rates in England have risen among almost all age groups, with the highest rate among 20 to 29-year-olds.

Speaking on a Royal Society of Medicine webinar Dr Harries said: “We are progressing, probably as a country, not quite in the right direction that we would all want to.”

She said the Government’s four-step road map out of lockdown, implemented in January, was created with five-week gaps to allow for the changes to take effect and to see whether it would lead to an increase in hospital admissions and deaths.

Dr Harries said: “Cases are rising, I think that is becoming clearer and modelling does suggest that we would start to see a further rise, not necessarily immediately but in coming weeks.”

She said that data suggests that those in the older age groups, aged 60 and above, are not getting ill with Covid-19 because they are “doubly vaccinated”, meaning they have had both doses of the Covid-19 jab.

She added that those appearing in hospital are either unvaccinated or those who have had a single dose of a Covid-19 jab.

Dr Harries said: “Because of the rise in hospitalisations, and the risk that there may be a wider spread of the Delta variant, it is really primarily important for saving lives that the older individuals who are more at risk, who have not had first and second vaccinations, maximally get vaccinated.”

She said that despite the UK’s “brilliant” vaccination programme, Covid-19 is “not going to go away”, because of a possible drop in vaccine effectiveness with the emergence of new coronavirus variants as well as a “large reservoir” of individuals, such as children and young people, who can become infected and transmit the disease.

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