UK over worst of pandemic by October suggests top medic

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Britain might be just months away from the end of the pandemic, according to the epidemiologist who predicted the original spread of the virus.


Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College, told the BBC: “The effect of vaccines has been huge in reducing the risk of hospitalisation and death and I think, I’m positive that by late September, October time we will be looking back at most of the pandemic.”


While there were still areas for concern, Ferguson said that the equation has “fundamentally changed”, with vaccinations dramatically reducing the incidences of hospitalisations and deaths.


Ferguson was speaking after the UK notched up its sixth day of falling cases in spite of predictions new cases might jump to as high as 100,000 or even 200,000 per day after a spike earlier in the month.


The current wave of infections reached 54,674 on 17 July but have been falling recently with recorded new infections at 24,950 on Monday though the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 rose by 186 to 5,238


“By October, Britain will still have COVID with us, we’ll still have people dying from COVID, but we’ll put the bulk of the pandemic behind us,” Ferguson said.


Other scientists were cautious about the drop in infections suggesting that it needs to be backed by lower hospital admissions and data from the Office of National Statistics.


Professor Adam Kucharski, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the BBC: “For me, there are two big ones: schools closing and an increased awareness of a growing epidemic – alongside nicer weather.”


People also turning off the NHS test & trace app after the headlines about the ‘pingdemic’ might also be a factor.


The next test will be the response of infections to nightclubs, festivals and other events reopening from 19 July.


Elsewhere, there were reports that airlines might also get some relief with a host of countries expected to be added to the UK’s greenlist in the review scheduled for next week.


The Telegraph reported that up to 77 countries are being considered for a change to green, which means people don’t have to quarantine on their return, while France is expected to have its risk level reduced to amber from amber plus, again meaning travellers returning to the UK don’t have to self-isolate.


A deal to allow overseas travellers into the UK without the need to quarantine using the NHS app might also be announced as early as this week.


Hopes of a US/UK corridor, however, seemed to have been ruled out by the Americans due to the incidence of the Delta variant, though the amber status of the US might be relaxed for people travelling here from the States.


Shares in easyJet PLC rose 3% to 873.3p and Ryanair 4% to EUR17.

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