UK lockdown: Government may face legal action says entrepreneur

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Former Pizza Express chairman Luke Johnson has threatened to team up with other businessmen to sue the Prime Minister if lockdown is not lifted later this month. He insisted that the UK is now the best country in Europe thanks to its vaccine programme. Speaking to talkRADIO, Mr Johnson said: “I think it’s the only way the government will take seriously the harms they are continuing to cause through lockdown, social distancing and masking.

“They promised months ago that they would be led by the data, not dates.

“The data is so much better than we were expecting in terms of hospitalisations and deaths.

“Thanks to the vaccination programme we are certainly the best country in Europe now in terms of casulaties from this disease and so we have to get our lives back on track.

“That means restaurants, pubs, theatres, nightclubs, festivals must be allowed to open at full capacity.”

It comes as any delay to the June 21 reopening in England would likely be by weeks rather than months, an expert has said, as he questioned why people appear “absolutely obsessed” with needing a date for restrictions ending rather than following the data.

Professor Robin Shattock also warned that despite the continued success of the vaccine rollout, the public should not see themselves as living in “Fortress UK” because the rest of the world needs to get access to jabs too.

Professor Peter Openshaw, who joined him for the Royal Society of Medicine webinar on Thursday, branded it “unethical” not to share surplus vaccines with the rest of the world.

He called for the “over purchasing that we and others have done” to be addressed “so as to reduce transmission, and reduce disease amongst those who will definitely benefit a great deal (from vaccines)”.

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Prof Shattock, head of mucosal infection and immunity at Imperial College London said: “We’ve done incredibly well in the UK with rollout of vaccines but we can’t think of ourselves as Fortress UK.

“We need to get those vaccines rolled out to the rest of the world.”

When it comes to the June 21 proposed unlocking date, Prof Shattock said lifting restrictions too quickly could mean we “lose those gains that we’ve got” and said any delay in moving to reopen would likely not be very lengthy.

He said: “I think we still need to look very carefully at the data.

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“I’m still concerned about having enough people having vaccines in the areas particularly where we are seeing higher levels of the Delta variant.

“And so we just need to be careful we don’t unlock too quickly and lose those gains that we’ve got.

“If we are talking about a delay, we’re talking about a delay of weeks, not months anymore, that could be very significant.

“So I’m not so sure why everybody is absolutely obsessed by fixing it to a date and not fixing it to the data.”

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