“I don’t see any reason of why we should need to go into lockdown again,” Hugh Pennington told The Sun. “We are now getting close to China and Taiwan in effectively eradicating it within our own territory.”
A total of 1,770 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the United Kingdom on Sunday, with the week’s total of 14,659 cases down by 4.3% compared with the previous week, Reuters reported.
The country recorded two new deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test. The week’s death toll of 67 was down by 39.1% compared with the previous week.
Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 127,605 people have died in the United Kingdom within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19.
Pennington said he believes the virus could become more like the flu.
“By this next winter COVID could be about the same problem as an average flu season and we can cope with it like we cope with flu. I think we will see COVID off in the U.K. In fact, COVID vaccines are more effective than flu vaccines, so flu may even turn out to be more of a problem in future. We may not even need booster jabs in the autumn, let’s wait and see.”
Data showed that 35.37 million people, or 67.2% of the U.K. adult population, have now received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Of those, 17.67 million, or 33.5% of adults, have received the recommended two doses.
The country experienced a devastating second wave that peaked in late January.
Numbers of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths have plummeted since the mass vaccination program and strict lockdown measures in place from January to March that now are only gradually being eased.
Pennington predicted COVID could become a disease Brits can cope with.
“I have always been skeptical about the extent of the threat from the importation of variants,” he said. “Sometimes it’s been about blaming the variants for other failures in the system. You cannot predict a pandemic – only be ready for them. COVID-19 may turn out like SARS and just die out.”