July 17, 2021 – 23:10
Senior public health executives from across the UK have accused Boris Johnson of spreading Covid-19, easing legal restrictions, amid warnings that a rising tide of infections will intensify a summer health system crisis in the country. The reprimand comes as the Secretary of Health in England, Sajid Javid, tested positive for coronavirus, despite being fully vaccinated.
A positive PCR test result creates an uncomfortable situation for the prime minister. According to the rules of probation and tracing, anyone who has been in contact with Javid in the previous 48 hours will have to be isolated. The Secretary of Health visited Downing Street on Friday, leaving Johnson in an awkward position. Javid has also visited a care home in recent days.
The British Prime Minister can avoid self-isolation if he has participated in a pilot system that allows people to work by doing a daily test. Johnson risks being accused of double standards if not isolated, while the government continues to urge the public to follow the rules of self-isolation.
Johnson’s use of the scheme also risks angering Conservative MPs who oppose strict isolation rules.
Doctors and opposition lawmakers said Javid’s positive test, although fully vaccinated, highlighted the additional risk for 32% of adults and all children who had not taken both doses.
54,674 new cases were reported on Saturday and 41 deaths from coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
There has been widespread concern from public health officials at the prime minister’s claim that people should “learn to live” with Covid-19 and “exercise their personal responsibility”.
In a letter to the Observer, the four independent UK public health bodies representing more than 130 UK public health directors, as well as environmental health teams and public health experts, warn: “Living with Covid-19 is not the same as letting it get out of control. We must act cautiously, not carelessly… The government must promote effective public health measures because personal responsibility will not be enough ”.
Dozens of UK cancer charities joined forces to make a strong joint prayer to the public, to continue taking measures that will help protect those who are most vulnerable to the virus.
Schools across England are closing early for the summer holidays, or are switching to online teaching as tens of thousands of students are forced to isolate themselves at home as a result of rising infections. / A2