Covid-19: UK could be first to go from pandemic to endemic, says Nadhim Zahawi

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Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi (PA) (PA Wire)
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Nadhim Zahawi said he believes the UK could be the first major economy in the world to transition from pandemic to endemic using Covid-19 vaccines.

Zahawi, who is the former Minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment, hailed the government’s decision to lift restrictions in the summer as a success.

He told LBC: "Our four-step plan meant that we were able to open up the economy in the summer. Some said it was a mistake - I think it was absolutely the right thing to do.

"We will probably, I hope, without being complacent, be the first major economy in the world to demonstrate how you transition (from) pandemic to endemic using vaccines."

Watch: Bauld on why Europe is seeing higher Covid rates than the UK

A pandemic is declared when a disease grows rapidly across a wide area, affecting several countries and populations.

In contrast, an endemic is an outbreak that is consistently present but limited to a particular region, making the spread of the disease more predictable and easier to contain.

His comments come as Austria was plunged into a lockdown on Monday after just 66 per cent of residents took up the jab – one of the lowest rates in Western Europe.

Covid-19 rates have also skyrocketed in other European countries including Belgium and Germany.

Mr Zahawi also spoke out amid reports that schools are being targeted by anti-vaccination protestors.

He said: "I have spoken to the Home Secretary about this and she has reassured me that the police have all the resources they need to deal with this.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi (PA) (PA Wire)
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi (PA) (PA Wire)

"The anti-vaxx protesters should not be going anywhere near a school or a pupil or a parent or a teacher. If they do, the police will and can take action against them.

"Local government, of course, are also working with schools ... if anybody feels threatened by these anti-vaxx protesters, they should report them and they will be arrested."

More than a million 40 to 49-year-olds in the UK can pre-book their appointments from Monday, and a further 1.5 million invitations will be sent to this age group in the coming weeks, NHS England said.

The extension of the rollout came amid concerns at waning immunity in those were were jabbed near the beginning of the vaccine programme.

More than 14 million boosters and third doses had been administered in the UK as of last week Friday, the Government said, with more than one million top-up jabs recorded since Tuesday.

Watch: Scientist claims to identify COVID patient zero

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