Boris Johnson is ‘willing to accept up to 50,000 Covid deaths a year before reintroducing draconian lockdown curbs’, Government advisers claim
- Government advisers claim there is a threshold for reintroducing restrictions
- They said PM has accepted there would be 30,000+ Covid deaths in next year
- Downing Street has rejected the suggestion it has an ‘acceptable’ level of deaths
Boris Johnson will only reimpose coronavirus restrictions if the number of deaths is heading for more than 50,000 a year, it was claimed today.
The Prime Minister has reportedly privately accepted that there could be 30,000 or more Covid-19 deaths in the next 12 months.
Government advisers told the i newspaper that they believed an acceptable level of deaths had been set at approximately 1,000 a week.
Downing Street has outright rejected the claim, insisting: ‘There is no set number of acceptable deaths from Covid.’
Boris Johnson will only reimpose coronavirus restrictions if the number of deaths is heading for 50,000 a year, it was claimed today
The newspaper said two Government advisers believed a cost-benefit analysis would be used by ministers to determine at what point curbs should be introduced.
One source told the newspaper: ‘The Prime Minister is minded to implement another lockdown or new restrictions only if the figure of annual deaths looks like it’s going to go above 50,000.’
The claims came after another 140 coronavirus deaths were recorded yesterday as infections and hospital admissions crept up again.
Yesterday’s death toll marked a 24 per cent rise on last Thursday and means the country is now averaging 110 virus fatalities every day — the highest in five months.
There were also another 38,281 infections in the past 24 hours across Britain, an increase of nearly five per cent on the previous week, according to the Government’s Covid dashboard.
Latest hospital data showed there were 818 patients admitted with the virus on August 22 — a small 1.7 per cent rise week-on-week.
A fierce debate has been raging for months over what level of deaths from coronavirus should be viewed as tolerable.
Independent experts warned in June that achieving zero Covid deaths was ‘impossible’.
Experts have previously suggested that the UK should focus on reducing annual coronavirus deaths to similar levels as the flu
They said the focus should be to bring deaths down to levels comparable with flu — which kills roughly 17,000 people in England annually and up to 50,000 in a bad year.
That sentiment was hinted at by ministers who said when the final restrictions were lifted that the UK will have to learn to live with the virus.
Michael Gove, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, said at the time that while ministers need to do ‘everything we can to protect people’, it was important for the public to ‘accept’ that there would continue to be Covid deaths after rules were eased.