politics

Britain will probably be first major economy to exit Covid pandemic, Government claims


The comments by Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi come as a fresh round of Covid lockdown restrictions are being brought in in mainland Europe

People walk along the South Bank in London, Britain
People walking along the South Bank in London

Britain will probably be the first major economy to exit the coronavirus -1>Coronavirus pandemic, the Government has claimed.

The comments by Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi come as a fresh round of lockdown restrictions are being brought in in mainland Europe.

The ex- vaccines minister suggested that fully lifting restrictions in the summer and allow the virus to spread during the warmer months is behind our flatlining Covid case rates.

Mr Zahawi told LBC: “Our four-step plan meant that we were able to open up the economy in the summer. Some said it was a mistake – I think it was absolutely the right thing to do.

“We will probably, I hope, without being complacent, be the first major economy in the world to demonstrate how you transition (from) pandemic to endemic using vaccines.”

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A view of an empty street as a 20-day curfew is implemented due to the increasing Covid-19 cases in Vienna, Austria
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Image:

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)



It is felt that Britain’s fast initial vaccination programme means booster are now protecting more of the population.

In Europe many countries are now seeing spikes as vaccine immunity from the first two doses suddenly starts to drop off.

Heading into Autumn Britain’s case load at 458.5 cases per million people was twice that of Austria’s, four times the rate in the Netherlands and Germany, and eight times that in Spain.








A sign warning people Covid has not gone away
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Image:

Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)



And its hospitalisations and deaths surged ahead with three times more daily admissions than Germany, and four times the number recorded in the Netherlands.

But Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland now all have a higher infection rate than the UK, with Germany expected to also surge past in the coming days.

The UK reported 44,917 more confirmed cases today and 45 more Covid deaths.








Members of medical staff wearing PPE
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Image:

POOL/AFP via Getty Images)



SAGE adviser Professor Peter Openshaw said: “The situation appears to have really been destabilised in some parts of Europe because of misinformation, particularly about vaccines.

“I think, in the UK, we had a very successful early vaccination campaign and we got very high vaccination rates, particularly amongst those who are vulnerable.”

He added: “I am concerned that we do have really quite high levels of transmission in the UK.

“My personal preference would be that we should really try to get these rates down — we know that masks do work.”


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