Countries that have the resources and political will “should clearly eliminate Covid-19”, a public health expert has said.
Professor Devi Sridhar said that living with the virus is “too dangerous to health and too destructive to the economy and society” and said it was time to “pivot from flu plan on to SARS plan”.
In a series of tweets Professor Sridhar, chairwoman of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, also said we are in a “precarious position” with the emergence of new variants of coronavirus and said there was a need for “max suppression”.
She said that we have been in recurrent lockdown cycles with no plan and that “we need a plan to get ourselves out of this pit with pay-off for all those who have sacrificed”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned the UK is still in a “pretty precarious” position while UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has urged people to stick to coronavirus regulations and not “blow it” as the vaccination campaign makes progress.
Prof Sridhar tweeted: “Scientists investigating whether it’s possible to be re-infected with a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 in S. Africa.
“Antibodies from previous infection didn’t recognise new variant in 21/44 cases but T-cells might.”
She added: “Quite simply: as new variants emerge we don’t know whether our vaccines will protect against them or whether having Covid once means you can’t get it again.
“Not scare-mongering but laying out facts and scientific uncertainty. Why wait and watch instead of getting ahead of this?”
She said the good news is that we know how to control Covid through measures including the “buy-in of population that there’s a plan”, robust test/trace/isolate, and very tight border restrictions.
Professor Sridhar, who is an adviser to the Scottish Government, warned that people will not keep complying if they don’t think there’s “light ahead on when life will get back to normal”.
And she said that eliminating the virus should be the goal where possible.
She tweeted: “Countries that have the resources and political will should clearly eliminate Covid-19.”