Tag Archives: distancing

Fully vaccinated can drop the masks, skip social distancing

The Pentagon said Friday fully vaccinated personnel no longer need to wear masks at Defense Department facilities.

WASHINGTON — In a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.
“Today is a great day for America,” President Joe Biden said Thursday during a Rose Garden address heralding the new guidance, an event where he and his staff went without masks. Hours earlier in the Oval Office, where Biden was meeting with vaccinated Republican lawmakers, he led the group in removing their masks when the guidance was announced.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask,” he said, summarizing the new guidance and encouraging more Americans to roll up their sleeves. “Get vaccinated — or wear a mask until you do.”
The guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools and other venues — even removing the need for social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.
“We have all longed for this moment — when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said at an earlier White House briefing.
In light of the CDC guidance, the Pentagon announced on Friday that fully vaccinated Defense Department personnel no longer need to wear masks indoors or outdoors at Defense facilities.
The CDC and the Biden administration have faced pressure to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated people — those who are two weeks past their last required COVID-19 vaccine dose — in part to highlight the benefits of getting the shots. The country’s aggressive vaccination campaign has paid off: U.S. virus cases are at their lowest rate since September, deaths are at their lowest point since last April and the test positivity rate is at the lowest point since the pandemic began.
Walensky said the long-awaited change is thanks to the millions of people who have gotten vaccinated and is based on the latest science about how well those shots are working.
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities — large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” Walensky said. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”
The new guidance is likely to open the door to confusion, since there is no surefire way for businesses or others to distinguish between those who are fully vaccinated and those who are not.
“Millions of Americans are doing the right thing and getting vaccinated, but essential workers are still forced to play mask police for shoppers who are unvaccinated and refuse to follow local COVID safety measures,” said Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. “Are they now supposed to become the vaccination police?”
Walensky and Biden said people who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear masks indoors.
“We’ve gotten this far — please protect yourself until you get to the finish line,” Biden said, noting that most Americans under 65 are not yet fully vaccinated. He said the government was not going to enforce the mask wearing guidance on those not yet fully vaccinated.
“We’re not going to go out and arrest people,” added Biden, who said he believes the American people want to take care of their neighbors. “If you haven’t been vaccinated, wear your mask for your own protection and the protection of the people who also have not been vaccinated yet.”
On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is not changing the rules requiring masks on the House floor.
“No,” Pelosi told CNN. “Are they all vaccinated?”
Recent estimates have put the percentage of unvaccinated lawmakers in the House at 25%.
That ambiguity over who is and isn’t vaccinated led Lawrence Gostin, a public health law expert at Georgetown University, to declare the CDC guidance “confusing and contradictory.”
“The public will not feel comfortable in a crowded indoor space if they are unsure if the maskless person standing next to them is or is not vaccinated,” he said.
The announcement came as many states and communities have already been lifting mask mandates amid improving virus numbers and as more Americans have been shedding face coverings after getting shots.
Dan Witte, a 67-year-old musician from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, stopped wearing a mask after receiving the vaccine two months ago and recently rejoined his band playing gigs at crowded bars and weddings. He was encouraged by the CDC’s new guidance but said it just confirmed his trust that the vaccines offered protection from spreading infections.
“I went right from being hypervigilant for almost a year to being right in the crowd without a mask,” Witte said.
To date more than 154 million Americans, nearly 47% of the population, have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and nearly 119 million are fully vaccinated. The rate of new vaccinations has slowed in recent weeks, but with the authorization Wednesday of the Pfizer shot for children ages 12 to 15, a new burst of doses is expected in the coming days.
“All of us, let’s be patient, be patient with one another,” Biden said, acknowledging some Americans might be hesitant about removing their masks after more than a year of living in a pandemic that has killed more than 584,000 people in the U.S. and more than 3.3 million people worldwide.
The CDC’s announcement that Americans could begin to shed one of the most visible symbols of the pandemic stood in stark contrast to other nations, with much of the world still struggling to contain the virus amid global disparities in vaccinations.
Just two weeks ago, the CDC recommended that fully vaccinated people continue to wear masks indoors in all settings and outdoors in large crowds.
Walensky said that evidence from the U.S. and Israel shows the vaccines are as strongly protective in real world use as they were in earlier studies and that they continue to work even though some worrying mutated versions of the virus are spreading.
The more people continue to get vaccinated, the faster infections will drop — and the harder it will be for the virus to mutate enough to escape vaccines, she stressed, urging everyone 12 and older who is not yet vaccinated to sign up.
And while some people still get COVID-19 despite being vaccinated, Walensky said, that’s rare. She cited evidence that those infections tend to be milder, shorter and harder to spread to others. If people who are vaccinated do develop COVID-19 symptoms, they should immediately put their mask back on and get tested, she said.
There are some caveats. Walensky encouraged people who have weak immune systems, such as from organ transplants or cancer treatment, to talk with their doctors before shedding their masks. That’s because of continued uncertainty about whether the vaccines can rev up a weakened immune system as well as they do normal, healthy ones.
The new guidance had an immediate effect at the White House, which has taken a cautious approach to easing virus restrictions. Staffers were informed that masks are no longer required for people who are fully vaccinated.
First lady Jill Biden, who was traveling in West Virginia, told reporters that “we feel naked” as she and her party removed their face coverings. Then she paused. “I didn’t mean it that way!”
AP Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard and AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.

Author:
This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Entertainment

Face mask freedom! Rules on coverings and social distancing to be binned on June 21

Under Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of England’s third coronavirus lockdown, June 21 is the earliest point to “remove all legal limits on social contact”. But the Government’s official guidance previously said ‘hands, face, space’ rules will continues to apply.
An insider has now said the Government will axe guidelines enforcing face masks and social distancing for the summer in most areas.

Scientists are reported to be on board with the proposal to scrap the rules, suggested by the National Economy Recovery Taskforce.

They have discussed a “maximalist” approach to lifting “non-pharmaceutical interventions” like masks and staying apart everywhere except for a small list of confined places.

The Prime Minister is also said to be eyeing up a return to the office, looking to end the work-from-home order.

READ MORE: US-UK travel: Boris Johnson will urge Joe Biden to drop travel bans

Experts have warned the Indian variant of Covid could delay the roadmap out of lockdown, after Public Health England identified it as a “variant of concern”.

Prof Christina Pagel, director of the clinical operational research unit at University College London and member of the Independent Sage group of experts, said a spike in B.1.617.2 cases means the May 17 reopening should be delayed.

The COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium, which tracks and identifies new variants, has reportedly recorded 1,723 cases of the variant. Cases appear to double every week.

Prof Pagel told the Guardian: “We’ve done this so many times – waited until things got really bad before we realised we should have acted several weeks ago.

“So why don’t we actually act several weeks ago – which is now!”

DON’T MISS…

The UK’s vaccine rollout has continued at pace, after 135,113 first doses and 350,147 second doses were administered yesterday.

So far, the UK has administered 35,722,461 first doses and 18,438,532 second doses of coronavirus vaccine.

That equals 67.8 percent of the UK’s adult population having received their first dose, and 35 percent receiving their second.

Yesterday saw another 2,284 cases and 11 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.

In total, the UK has seen 4,441,975 cases and 127,640 deaths.

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Boris Johnson told social distancing at big events can be scrapped

Author: Claudia Aoraha
This post originally appeared on Breaking UK news and exclusives | The Sun

BORIS Johnson will be told that social distancing at big events can be scrapped after a pilot scheme showed no spike in Covid cases.

Crowds should be able to return without social distancing from June 21, while experts have said older vaccinated people should “get out there and socialise”.

🔵 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates

Football fans wearing masks at Wembley Stadium

3

Football fans wearing masks at Wembley StadiumCredit: AFP

Crowds should return without social distancing, and double-vaccinated Brits should go out and 'socialise'

3

Crowds should return without social distancing, and double-vaccinated Brits should go out and ‘socialise’Credit: Alamy

It comes as people are being “terrified” by messages that things may not ever go back to normal – despite the success of the vaccine rollout.

And after initial results from pilot schemes, the Prime Minister will be told next week that there were no spikes in Covid cases among attendees.

With precautions like staggering entries and good ventilation, crowds can return to large events without distancing – following the monitoring of sports games that have already taken place.

A source familiar with the report, according to the Telegraph, said ministers will be told that the pilots have shown “there are some effective ways to manage risk that could remove the need to have social distancing at events”.

The conclusions will be framed as an “initial view” from scientists – with more pilot events coming next month.

With infections dropping to below 50 per 100,000 people in more than 95 per cent of the UK, ministers say that the lifting of all restrictions is in sight.

BACK TO ‘NORMALITY’

Prof Tim Spector OBE, who leads the ZOE COVID Symptom Study, told the Mirror: “Rates are low, we’re not out of it yet but we can be optimistic.

“We shouldn’t be too worried about meeting people outside. I think we can start to increasingly enjoy life as long as we’re sensible.

“This is reassuring for elderly people who have been isolating for a year and have been double vaccinated, to say: ‘Look guys, your risk is so small, you should get out there and socialise.

“Two elderly vaccinated people should be able to go out and give each other a hug.

“We’re just not being honest in that for people who are double vaccinated the risks are tiny.

With precautions like staggering entries and good ventilation, crowds can return to large events without distancing

3

With precautions like staggering entries and good ventilation, crowds can return to large events without distancingCredit: Getty

“A lot of people are still being terrified by Government messages and may never go back to normal.”

Current coronavirus rules state that you must keep two metres from people outside of your household or support bubble.

But Brits can meet outdoors with six people, as well as drink and dine at al fresco hospitality venues.

But social distancing is set to be in place until June 21 at the earliest, according to Boris Johnson’s roadmap.

Current infection levels are among the lowest to have been recorded by experts at the ZOE Symptom Tracker app, with just 757 infections being logged each day in England.

There are currently 1,046 new symptomatic cases of Covid in the UK on average compared to 1,165 daily cases a week ago.

This is a decrease of 10 per cent from last week and study lead, Prof Spector said that rates are beginning to plateau, moving the UK into a new era of the pandemic.

VACCINE ROLLOUT

Three regions also recorded no new infections, these are the East of England, the North East and Northern Ireland.

This comes after Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, said meetings between fully vaccinated people are “incredibly safe”.

He added that England was “extremely close” to allowing people to meet indoors – but that we needed to “hold the line for just a teeny bit longer”.

Professor Van-Tam warned that there would be “bumps in the road” as Covid lockdown restrictions were rolled back.

He said: “I would be highly confident, scientifically, that if those were reputable vaccines, then indeed it would be incredibly safe for those two people to meet.”

He also noted that following the rules would be “frustrating at times for people, particularly those who’ve had their two doses, but we need to make sure we don’t have to go backwards again”.

“My sense is that probably we are at or close to the bottom at the moment in terms of this level of disease in the UK,” he said.

Professor Van-Tam said it was “inconceivable” that there would be a rise in cases as mixing returned.

However, he said he hoped vaccinations would stop the NHS from being overwhelmed as it was in the winter.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock receives a jab of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine from Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam

Carry on distancing even if you’ve had BOTH jabs, health chief says – to be fair to those still waiting

Author: Vanessa Chalmers
This post originally appeared on Health News – The Sun

PEOPLE who are fully vaccinated have been urged to carry on social distancing to be fair to the rest of Britain.

A senior health official suggested the UK should not allow “privileged” immunised people greater freedoms.

🔵 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates

Carry on distancing

1

A senior health official suggested the UK should not allow “privileged” immunised people greater freedoms such as to meet indoors without social distancingCredit: Getty – Contributor

Instead, society should move forward together.

In the US, groups of fully vaccinated people can meet indoors without the need for social distancing or face masks.

This won’t be allowed for the UK until June 21 at the earliest, when all remaining social distancing rules will lift.

That’s despite experts saying the risk of two-fully vaccinated people catching Covid from meeting up inside is at “one in 400,000 chance”.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention also says fully vaccinated Americans can stop wearing face coverings outdoors, while there are no current plans to stop mask-wearing in the UK.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England (PHE), said the UK is choosing an all-together approach.

She told MPs today the Government’s road map reflects “doing everything as a whole” but that in the future, “we may be able to pick out individuals”.

She said: “I think the other thing is we have a slightly different cultural perspective in this country in that we tend to do everything together.

“We are trying to say that this is about the population as a whole rather than the individuals, those privileged individuals who have had two doses, being somehow able to do things that other people cannot.”

Dr Ramsay told the Commons Science and Technology Committee that the US had given more second doses, which allowed them to be less cautious now.

Some 29 per cent of the US population has hd two doses compared to the UK’s 25 per cent.

The UK has a policy of leaving up to 12 weeks between vaccine doses in order to save more lives, whereas other countries have stuck to a standard three weeks.

A person does not have the optimal protection against Covid until at least three weeks after their vaccine.

However, around half the British population, all under 50 years old, have not had even their first dose of a jab.

And a small proportion of older and more vulnerable people would have refused it or cannot get it due to medical reasons.

Dr Ramsay said: “There is a risk that we get a resurgence as we release restrictions – hopefully that will mainly lead to mild disease and younger people.

“But there will still be the risk that those people can potentially pass this on to older individuals who are, for whatever reason, either unable to respond to vaccine, unvaccinated or maybe if the vaccine begins to lose protection over time.”

How do regions’ vaccination figures compare?

More than 47 million vaccine doses have been given in the UK so far, including more than 33.8 million first doses, and 12.2 million second doses.

In England, nearly 39.4 million doses have been given – 28.43

million first doses and 11 million second doses.

NHS England data between December 8 and April 27 gives a regional break down of jabs given:

  • London: 3,533,371 first doses and 1,373,333 second doses (4,906,704 total)
  • Midlands: 5,481,483 first doses and 2,088,501 second doses (7,569,984 total)
  • East of England: 3,403,056 first doses and 1,371,888 second doses (4,774,944 total)
  • North East and Yorkshire: 4,503,014 first and 1,839,357 second doses (6,342,371 total)
  • North West: 3,608,417 first and 1,538,878 second doses (5,147,295 total)
  • South East: 4,650,298 first and 1,811,833 second doses (6,462,131 total)
  • South West: 3,093,957 first and 1,294,187 second doses (4,388,144 total)

It came after a PHE study revealed that Covid vaccines do stop people from passing the virus to other people, hailed by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock as “terrific”.

The key finding was that a single dose cuts the risk of catching the virus by two-thirds and onward transmission to household members by up to almost half.

But Dr Ramsay pointed out the figure was not 100 per cent.

In the committee hearing, Dr Ramsay also told MPs it was “very important” that as many people as possible are vaccinated before all restrictions are eased.

Another expert warned of a large coronavirus wave later on if “we all go completely wild”.

Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), warned of the risks of ignoring eerything that has been learned about social distancing in the last year.

“We need to celebrate our success with vaccines… but we also need to be cautious because we don’t want to see what’s happening in other parts of Europe and other parts of the world here in the UK.

“If we can carry on with the messaging that we carry on being cautious, even though we are unlocking slowly in terms of the social distancing, the mask wearing, etc, we may keep infection rates down.”

Brits could be hugging friends and family by June, gov scientific adviser hopes

End face masks and social distancing on June 21 – top scientists demand

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed

The open letter states that “a good society cannot be created by an obsessive focus on a single cause of ill-health” and states all restrictions should be lifted in June on the final date in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown. Masks should no longer be worn by schoolchildren after May 17, say the scientists – and they warn the damage to society will be too great if the current Covid control measures continue beyond the June roadmap date. 

Vaccine passports should also be scrapped along with mass community testing, they say.

Instead, the government should focus on targeted testing, creating better incentives for staying home if ill and basic hygiene measures, such as handwashing and surface cleaning.

The scientists, from a broad range of specialities and all sides of the political spectrum say the “theoretical risk” of vaccine-immune strains or a new Covid surge should not outweigh the harms caused by lockdown rules, including damage to children’s education and the nation’s mental health.

The letter, written by Robert Dingwall, professor of sociology at Nottingham Trent University, Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University and Professor Anthony Brookes, Geneticist and Health Data Scientist, University of Leicester, states: “We are being told simultaneously that we have successful vaccines and that major restrictions on everyday life must continue indefinitely. Both propositions cannot be true.

We need to give more weight to the data on the actual success of the vaccines and less to theoretical risks of vaccine escape and/or surge in a largely vaccinated population.”

Citing official data, the letter states that the vaccine programme will almost totally eliminate deaths and hospitalisations from Covid-19 and become “demonstrably less fatal than seasonal influenza viruses.”

It states: “We can be very confident that they (the vaccines) will reduce Covid deaths by around 98 per cent and serious illness by 80-85 per cent,” once uptake of the vaccine among vulnerable groups is completed in the forthcoming weeks.

Face coverings, it states, should no longer be worn by schoolchildren after May 17th, and “all exceptional measures to control the virus should cease no later than June 21,” because unproven benefits are outweighed by “damage to mental health, education of children and young people, to people with disabilities, new entrants to the workforce and to the spontaneous personal connections from which innovation and enterprise emerge.”

And it states: “All consideration of immunity documentation should cease.”

It concludes: “In short, the level of population immunity we have now achieved by targeted vaccination and natural infection means that the SARS-Cov-2 virus in the UK has become demonstrably less fatal than seasonal influenza viruses.

“It is time to recognize that, in our substantially vaccinated population, Covid-19 will take its place among the 30 or so respiratory viral diseases with which humans have historically co-existed….For most vaccinated and other low-risk people, Covid-19 is now a mild endemic infection, likely to recur in seasonal waves which renew immunity without significantly stressing the NHS.”

Continued virus surveillance as well investments towards better vaccines should continue along with improved support people who need to stay at home with respiratory symptoms.

It concludes: “Just as before the pandemic, it will remain desirable to promote general standards of public hygiene, such as thorough handwashing and surface cleaning, although neither has been shown to be particularly important in reducing SARS-Cov-2 transmission. There would also be value in increasing the ability of the NHS to deal with surges of infection, although these are as likely to come from other respiratory infections as from Covid-19, and to ensure good care for long Covid.

“We have learned that a good society cannot be created by obsessive focus on a single cause of ill-health. Having endured the ravages of 2020, things are very different as we enter the spring of 2021. It is more than time for citizens to take back control of their own lives.”

Robert Dingwall, a professor of sociology at Nottingham Trent University and co-author of the letter, said: “This Open Letter is not the product of any organized group, alliance or coalition. The signatories do not share anything beyond their frustration that policy conclusions promoted from a limited set of scientific disciplines have constantly emphasised fear, anxiety and worst cases. Pandemics challenge the whole of society, not just medicine and public health.

“Proportionate responses require all the expertise available to citizens and governments, especially as we begin to live with Covid-19 as an endemic infection in a vaccinated population. The authors respect the same data but bring broader perspectives on risk and its management to question the policy implications drawn from it. Citizens’ lives do not have to be micromanaged by government restrictions on human contact and tracked morning, noon and night.”

Mike Hulme, professor of human geography, University of Cambridge who is one of the signatories said: “It is increasingly clear that pursuing a strategy of virus eradication is delivering an increasingly unfavourable risk-benefit ratio. Eradication is an unattainable goal. In the meantime, the damage to the country’s broader social, political and economic health caused by this misguided strategy deepens.

“It is time to commit to a prudent and balanced strategy for managing Covid-19 risk in society, a strategy which this Open Letter points towards. We assimilate a wide range of public health risks into everyday life, without straining to eradicate them at enormous and indefensible economic, social and political cost. As much as containing the virus itself, part of this strategy must be to arrest the contagion of pandemic fear.”

Letter to the Government

We are writing as scientists and scholars concerned about the confused and contradictory directions currently being promoted in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are being told simultaneously that we have successful vaccines and that major restrictions on everyday life must continue indefinitely.

Both propositions cannot be true. We need to give more weight to the data on the actual success of the vaccines and less to theoretical risks of vaccine escape and/or surge in a largely vaccinated population. It is time to reassess where we are and where we go next.

Phase One of the Covid-19 vaccination programme will shortly be completed, with every vulnerable adult in the UK having been offered two injections. It is clear that the vaccines are fully delivering on the promise of the clinical trials. We can be very confident that they will reduce Covid deaths by around 98 per cent and serious illness by 80-85 per cent.

This level of protection against serious illness seems not to be significantly affected by any of the variants that have been observed, because of the breadth of T-cell responses. There are sound evolutionary reasons why this is unlikely to change in the near future with new variants. In short, the level of population immunity we have now achieved by targeted vaccination and natural infection means that the SARS-Cov-2 virus in the UK has become demonstrably less fatal than seasonal influenza viruses.

Given this, it is time to recognize that, in our substantially vaccinated population, Covid-19 will take its place among the 30 or so respiratory viral diseases with which humans have historically co-existed. This has been explicitly accepted in a number of recent statements by the Chief Medical Officer. For most vaccinated and other low-risk people, Covid-19 is now a mild endemic infection,  likely to recur in seasonal waves which renew immunity without significantly stressing the NHS.

Covid-19 no longer requires exceptional measures of control in everyday life, especially where there have been no evaluations and little credible evidence of benefit. Measures to reduce or discourage social interaction are extremely damaging to the mental health of citizens; to the education of children and young people; to people with disabilities; to new entrants to the workforce; and  to the spontaneous personal connections from which innovation and enterprise emerge.

The DfE recommendations on face covering and social distancing in schools should never have been extended beyond Easter and should cease no later than 17 May. Mandatory face coverings, physical distancing and mass community testing should cease no later than 21 June along with other controls and impositions. All consideration of immunity documentation should cease.

There will be continuing value in investments towards better vaccines with a broader spectrum of action against the virus; in establishing a genuinely voluntary, targeted surveillance programme with a genomic component to monitor the spread and  evolution of the virus; and in improving social security provision to encourage people to stay at home if experiencing respiratory symptoms.

Just as before the pandemic, it will remain desirable to promote general standards of public hygiene, such as thorough handwashing and surface cleaning, although neither has been shown to be particularly important in reducing SARS-Cov-2 transmission. There would also be value in increasing the ability of the NHS to deal with surges of infection, although these are as likely to come from other respiratory infections as from Covid-19, and to ensure good care for long Covid.

We have learned that a good society cannot be created by obsessive focus on a single cause of ill-health. Having endured the ravages of 2020, things are very different as we enter the spring of 2021. It is more than time for citizens to take back control of their own lives.

Signatories (in alphabetical order)

Professor Ryan Anderson, Translational Science, Medicines Discovery Catapult

Dr Colin Axon, Mechanical Engineering, Brunel University

Professor Anthony Brookes, Genomics and Bioinformatics, University of Leicester

Professor Jackie Cassell, FFPH, Deputy Dean,  Brighton and Sussex Medical School

Professor Angus Dalgleish, FRCP, FRCPath, FMedSci, Oncology, St George’s, University of London

Professor Robert Dingwall, FAcSS, HonMFPH, Sociology, Nottingham Trent University

Professor Sunetra Gupta, Theoretical Epidemiology, University of Oxford

Professor Carl Heneghan, MRCGP,  Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, University of Oxford

Professor Mike Hulme,  Human Geography, University of Cambridge.

Dr John Lee – formerly Pathology, Hull York Medical School

Professor David Livermore, Medical Microbiology,  University of East Anglia.

Professor Paul McKeigue Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics, University of Edinburgh

Professor David Paton, Industrial Economics, University of Nottingham

Emeritus Professor Hugh Pennington, CBE, FRCPath, FRCP (Edin), FMedSci, FRSE, Bacteriology, University of Aberdeen

Dr Gerry Quinn, Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster

Dr Roland Salmon, MRCGP, FFPH, former Director of the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (Wales).

Emeritus Professor John Scott, CBE, FRSA, FBA, FAcSS, Sociology, University of Essex

Professor Karol Sikora, FRCR, FRCP, FFPM, Medicine, University of Buckingham

Professor Ellen Townsend, Psychology, University of Nottingham

Dr Chao Wang, Health & Social Care Statistics, Kingston University and St George’s, University of London,

Professor John Watkins,  Epidemiology, Cardiff University

Professor Lisa White, Modelling and Epidemiology, University of Oxford.

Read More

Ryanair's Michael O'Leary says summer holidays WILL go ahead – but no distancing on planes

He explained customers will be asked to wear face coverings while onboard, but social distancing will not be possible.

“People in families will be sitting together and everybody will still be wearing masks,” he continued.

“We will still require you to wear masks but there is no way you can separate people on board an aircraft.

“[This is because] you can’t get up to go to the toilet, you can’t board the aircraft at two metre separations.”