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'Putting a date on easing lockdown measures is premature,' warns doctor

A doctor on Good Morning Britain has warned that putting a date on when lockdown measures can be eased is ‘a bit premature’.

Dr Amir Khan told Ben Shephard and Charlotte Hawkins on Friday’s programme that a number of things need to be looked at before we can ease lockdown in England.

Yesterday it was reported that the national lockdown has been extended to March 8, with schools and non-essential businesses remaining closed until at least then.

This means the latest lockdown will be in place for at least nine weeks in total.

Speaking via video link Dr Amir began: ‘I think we are all a bit sick of lockdown and releases, lockdown and releases so we want to make sure we get it right when we start to ease these lockdown measures.

‘We don’t want to go back into a lockdown. I’ve read those reports, it’s a group of conservative lockdown-sceptic MPs that are pushing for a complete easing of the lockdown.

‘We’ve got to be really mindful, there are so many things we need to look out for. Yes, the number of new cases being tested, Jeremy Hunt as you said, said it should be as low as 1,000.

‘The last time we got that per day was August when we were really low levels and were doing well. We saw what happened when we eased lockdown measures too early then.’

Dr Amir went on to add that we also need to ‘keep an eye on the new variants’.

‘Are there any more emerging?’ he quizzed. ‘What are they like in terms of escape mutations when it comes to the vaccine?

‘We’ve got to make sure the vulnerable groups of people, enough people have been vaccinated before we start easing these lockdowns.’

‘Of course, hospital admissions and the number of beds,’ he added. ‘At the moment we still have a lot of people in hospital with coronavirus so we have got to be looking out for all those things before we look at easing the lockdown.

‘I think putting a date on it now, is a bit premature.’

The current lockdown restrictions are enshrined in law until March 31, but remain under ‘continuous review.’

The legislation on the current rules will be in place until the end of March to allow a ‘controlled’ easing of restrictions – with Boris Johnson previously telling the Commons that the end of the national lockdown will not happen with a ‘big bang’ but a ‘gradual unwrapping.’

This means that, even when the national lockdown ends on March 8, the country won’t go back to normal but more likely revert back to localised tier systems, as we saw in the latter half of 2020.

Mr Johnson told reporters on Monday: ‘We are starting to see some signs of a flattening and maybe even a falling off of infection rates and hospitalisations.

‘But don’t forget that they are still at a very high level by comparison with most points in the last 12 months, a really very high level.’

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.

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