‘Really Weird Timing’ - Top Scientist Slams Johnson’s Decision To Lift Covid Restrictions

“I was surprised and shocked but then thought about this as more a political type of statement rather than a scientific one," Professor Tim Spector said.
Johnson and Spector
Johnson and Spector
Parliament.tv and ZOE COVID STUDY

Boris Johnson’s plan to scrap covid restrictions early are irresponsible and have come at a “weird time”, a leading expert has said.

Tim Spector, a professor of epidemiology at King’s College London, suggested the prime minister’s decision was based on politics rather than science.

It comes after Johnson announced yesterday that covid self-isolation rules were being scrapped a month early.

The professor said he was “surprised and shocked” by the decision given the high prevalence of the Omicron variant in Britain.

Spector said data shows the country was experiencing more than 200,000 cases a day and we were still close to the January peak with between one in 20 to 25 people currently suffering with covid.

“I was surprised and shocked...but then thought about this as more a political type of statement rather than a scientific one.”

- Professor Tim Spector

“That is not dropping dramatically at all,” Spector told Times Radio.

“So it’s a really weird time to tell the public that it’s all over. You know, we’ve beaten it when this is causing a huge effect on sickness, on work problems,” he added.

Spector, who heads up the Zoe app which monitors the spread of the virus, was also asked if the PM’s decision was “irresponsible”.

He replied: “I think it is. Without setting the context and giving the wrong impression that the UK has beaten Covid I think it’s totally the wrong way to do it. And I’d say that would be irresponsible.

“It does need much more consideration. That’s probably why we’re not hearing from the government medics and scientists.”

Speaking at the start of prime minister’s questions on Wednesday, Johnson said the remaining domestic restrictions could be lifted a month earlier than planned.

He told MPs he would present the government’s “Living With Covid” strategy when the Commons returns from its recess on February 21.

It has been suggested that the sudden decision was part of the so-called “Operation Red Meat” - a bid to save Johnson’s beleaguered premiership.

The move could be seen as an attempt to fend off any further Tory MPs thinking about writing a letter of no confidence in the prime minister.

The move certainly resulted with some positive headlines for the prime minister after weeks of fierce criticism.

Lara Wong, spokesperson for Clinically Vulnerable Families, said: “An ill thought through move to remove covid isolations is devastating to vulnerable families across the UK. We have lived in isolation for two years and this decision fails to think of the immunosuppressed or those who cannot have the vaccine for medical reasons.

“It is clear that government policy no longer follows the science, as we were told.”


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