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BORIS JOHNSON’S bonfire of lockdown restrictions on “freedom day” is an ideological move to force people to accept more Covid-19 deaths, Labour’s left and medical experts warn.
A cross-party group of MPs including Labour’s Richard Burgon and the Greens’ Caroline Lucas joined leading health figures at an emergency virtual summit today to slam the Prime Minister’s plans for July 19.
The event – organised by The Citizens campaign group – came after The Lancet published a letter from more than 100 scientists and doctors from around the world accusing ministers of conducting a “dangerous and unethical experiment.”
The signatories, including independent Sage adviser Sir David King and the British Medical Association’s Dr Chaand Nagpaul, blasted the “unethical and illogical” approach which could see millions develop “long Covid” postviral health problems.
And unions warned the scraping of the legal requirement to wear face masks in enclosed public places such as in shops and on public transport could also expose hundreds of thousands of workers to greater danger.
Echoing those fears, Mr Burgon said it was important to challenge the “freedom” narrative because “it’s not freedom if it puts other people at risk in the way it is [doing].”
The Leeds East MP reiterated calls for sick pay at real living wage levels so those most likely to be exposed to the virus in public-facing roles can afford to self-isolate.
“This could become a disease of the poor and the vulnerable in this country,” the ex-shadow justice secretary pointed out.
Lancet editor Richard Horton said ministers are pursuing an “ideologically driven commitment to force the population to accept a level of mortality and disability” as an escape route from restrictions necessary to protect life.
“This has got nothing to do with data, nothing to do with experiments, this is ideology from the libertarian right,” he said.
“Until we confront that fact then we’re not understanding what this government is about.
“It’s a profound sadness to see people who I respect such as [chief scientific adviser] Patrick Vallance and [chief medical officer] Chris Whitty allowing themselves to stand next to the Prime Minister and give their apparent support to this appalling politically driven position.”
Earlier this week, new Health Secretary Sajid Javid admitted Britain could soon see 100,000 new infections per day as a result of the move to lift restrictions, which comes as millions wait to be vaccinated.
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