Barely a week after the British Medical Association (BMA) warned the government against the full lifting of Covid-19 measures, now the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) has sounded additional alarm bells by warning the pandemic will “get worse before it gets better”.
In a statement, the AoMRC – which is the coordinating body for the UK and Ireland’s 23 Medical Colleges and Faculties - said it was “essential” that people took a “responsible” approach when restrictions are formally lifted on July 19.
The coordinating body is urging people to remain “cautious” by taking active measures, principally by wearing face masks in crowded indoor spaces.
The AoMRC has also warned that the National Health Service (NHS) is coming “under unprecedented pressure” as more and more people take advantage of the lifting of Covid-related restrictions to seek treatment for non-urgent medical issues.
The AoMRC’s intervention is likely to be viewed as an irritant by the government which appears determined to lift all Covid-19 measures in England on July 19.
The government is expected to set out its final decision on Monday (July 12) but all indications are it will merely confirm its earlier decision to lift practically all pandemic-related measures and restriction on July 19.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today program, AoMRC chairwoman, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, said that while her organization was “cautious about issuing dire warnings”, nonetheless she has become “profoundly concerned” about the prospect of removing all restrictions on July 19.
"There seems to be a misapprehension that life will return to normal from then and that we can throw away all the precautions and, frankly, that would be dangerous", Professor Stokes-Lampard added.
The growing dispute between the government and professional medical bodies over the lifting of restrictions is unfolding against the backdrop of rapidly increasing Covid-19 infections.
On Friday (July 09), the UK recorded 35,707 Covid-19 infections, the highest daily figure since January 22.
In addition, 29 Covid-19 related deaths – which occurred within 28 days of a positive test – were recorded on Friday.