THIS reader has got in touch to voice his concern and frustration at the direction the UK's Covid response is headed.

"Covid levels across the North are climbing yet again. The government’s message is that Britain’s vaccination programme is the envy of Europe and now we’ve had our jabs the problem is solved. Sadly, this is far from the truth.

"To date, England has double-vaccinated only 67 per cent of its population, compared with Denmark (75), Spain (79) and Portugal (85). The weekly number of new cases per million puts us near the bottom of the European table, next to Serbia and Romania. England’s rate of Covid deaths is twice as high as Germany’s and almost six times that of Finland.

"The reason for these differences is that restrictions that were lifted far too early in England have been maintained in other countries.

"Masks are still mandatory in indoor public spaces and public transport in France, Germany, Portugal, Italy and Spain. Many countries have made major investments in ventilation and filtration, while some have made CO2 monitors compulsory in settings such as hospitality venues.

"Schools across Europe have a range of protections in place to reduce cases in children, including masks, bubbles and distancing; in England, these measures were scrapped.

"The government’s advisory group for new and emerging respiratory virus threats (Nervtag) predicts that last year’s mild influenza season, helped by masks and social distancing, reduced our immunity and that a combination of Covid with new, more transmissible strains of flu could have devastating effects this winter.

"A recent investigation by two cross-party parliamentary select committees chaired by Tory MPs found that a “fatalistic” approach taken at the outset of the pandemic led to many unnecessary deaths. In the early days the government might be excused for being wrong-footed – but that was many months ago, and medically we have learned much.

"Instead of flying off to holiday in Marbella, Boris Johnson should be leading a serious response to this grave and continuing crisis – or his inaction will result in thousands more preventable deaths."

Dr Peter Williams, Malton.

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