UK scientific advisor says coronavirus unlikely to be eradicated

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Covid 19 signage in Soho, on the first day after the city was put into Tier 2 restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus, in London, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week introduced a three-tier regional approach to combating the coronavirus pandemic, with each tier bringing in progressively tighter restrictions. The government is trying to slow rising infection rates and prevent the National Health Service from being swamped with COVID-19 cases this winter while seeking to avoid a national lockdown that would ravage the U.K.‘s struggling economy. (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)

Reuters

LONDON: The coronavirus will be around for “evermore” as it is unlikely it will be eradicated, a British scientist on the government’s advisory committee for the pandemic said on Wednesday, although a vaccine would help improve the situation.

Britain, like other countries in Europe, is currently in the grip of a resurgence in Covid-19 infections, with much of the country under local restrictions and more than 21,000 daily cases reported on Tuesday.

“We are going to have to live with this virus for evermore. There is very little chance that it’s going to become eradicated,” John Edmunds, a member of Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), told lawmakers.

Although the coronavirus will be around indefinitely, Edmunds said that the prospect of a vaccine towards the end of the winter should impact the government’s strategy now.

 “If vaccines are just around the corner then, in my view, we should try and keep the incidence as low as we can now, because we will be able to use vaccines in the not too distant future,” he said.

He said the UK had played a “clever game” in investing in different coronavirus vaccines. Britain has signed supply deals for six different Covid-19 vaccines, with 340 million doses secured across different types of technologies.

“I think we will be in a reasonable position in months,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to be vaccinating everybody but to start, maybe the highest risk people, healthcare workers and so on.”