Whitty predecessor wants vulnerable Britons to keep shielding ‘Must be extremely careful’

Shielding: Expert urges vulnerable under 50s to 'stay in isolation'

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The former chief scientific adviser Sir David King’s warning comes as shielding for the most clinically vulnerable in Britain ends on Thursday. Sir David was asked on Sky News whether the millions currently isolating due to underlying health conditions should now begin going out again and mixing with others. He urged those aged under 50 who had yet to be vaccinated against coronavirus and were shielding to “stay in isolation” despite the general easing of lockdown restrictions.


Sir David told Sky News: “It is all very worrying. 

“Let me say the positive fact is that something like 60 percent of the adult population of Britain have now even been vaccinated or have anti-bodies because they have had the disease.

“60 percent is quite high but given the level of virus in the country, which is at the level of still producing between 4,000 and 5,000 new cases a day, which is enormous.

“We really have to tread, very, very carefully.”

He continued: “If you’re a vulnerable person and you are below the age of 50, I would say you would have to still stay in self-isolation.”

Pressed on findings from King’s College London, which showed only one in five people with symptoms were opting to get tested for Covid-19, he added: “The find, test and trace and support system is simply failing the whole country.

“So that’s the problem, there are a lot of people moving around our society with the virus that should be in isolation.

“It’s very difficult for me to recommend for people who are vulnerable to get out there.”

Vaccine row: Expert hits out at 'ineffective' distribution

“We all need to be extremely careful,” added Sir David.

Researchers from King’s College London, Public Health England and University College London carried out a survey which showed just 18 percent of those with coronavirus symptoms said they had requested a test.

Other findings, published in the British Medical Journal, showed 43 percent with symptoms in the previous seven days adhered to full self-isolation.

In the latest survey round, from January 25 to January 27, 50.8 percent identified a cough, high temperature or fever, and loss of sense of smell or taste as signs of COVID-19.


Only 22.2 percent of those who reported having Covid symptoms in the past seven days said they had requested a test.

The latest 24-hour UK Government figures show a further 43 people are reported to have died with Covid,  bringing the total of people who died within 28 days of a positive test to 126,713.

There have been another 4,000 new cases reported in the UK.

In total, nearly 31 million people have now received their first Covid vaccine jab

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