Covid experts around the world respond to the UK’s decision to lift remaining restrictions on July 19 in an emergency online summit.

They say no public health officer would recognize this as a strategy.

This article as a tweet thread, including the short video clips of experts making their main points.


Professor Shu Ti Chui of Taiwan explained with a metaphor of a raincoat and umbrella in heavy rain.

(click to watch on Youtube)

In our culture there is a saying that it is unethical to take the umbrella away from persons while it’s still raining.

And now it's politically unethical to take the umbrella away from persons not having a raincoat while it's still raining. And it's actually raining very hard. I hope the politicians will take this into consideration to keep the umbrella there for those people not having a raincoat.


[rewrite for mildly autistic people]

There is a saying in Taiwan:: It is unethical to take umbrellas away from people while its still raining.

It is politically unethical to take umbrellas away from people who don’t have raincoats, while it is still raining.

It is raining very hard.

I hope politicians will take this into consideration.

I hope politicians keep the umbrella for people who don’t have a raincoat

[raincoat = vaccine, umbrella = public health measures to protect unvaccinated people]

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, so much positive going on. With our marvelous science we can stop this pandemic in ways that wouldn’t have been possible just a decade ago. For some of the extraordinary developments see

, Positive framing - we have seen an extraordinary pace of science development - we have never had such advanced capabilities to control a pandemic before

But we can do it so much more effectively and faster if we have good public health strategies.

These public health experts and scientists are absolutely sure that the way the UK is doing it is wrong, as you’ll see. Hopefully this has some influence on our policy.

Meanwhile we can all do our bit to help with #DOITALL and sharing good information and raising awareness. We can all help to get over the pandemic faster by doing this.

This is not a transcript. Rather it is a summary of the main points using their words and phrases but often re-arranged for a simpler sentence structure. I do this to help mildly autistic readers who process language differently. [Anyway YouTube hasn’t done the autotranscript yet]

If one of the sections interests you then click on the link with the time in seconds to hear the speaker for yourself.

Dr Gabriel Scully

. Emergency international summit on uk’s ‘freedom day’.Q

I'm here as representative of the group of scientists who wrote a letter to the Lancet calling what the government is doing a "dangerous and unethical experiment".

The Westminster government has failed to bring the virus under control and is now preparing to removed the last few remaining measures that inhibit the virus from spreading even more widely amongst our only partially vaccinated population.

I think its indicative of the situation that we are in that there is such worldwide interest in what the UK is doing or planning to do.

Open remarks Deepti Gurdisani.

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We are in the middle of an unfolding national emergency in the UK.

The UK government has progressively removed most of its measures for controlling the pandemic.

It will remove the remaining ones on Monday.

This is not a transcript. Rather it is a summary of the main points using their words and phrases but often re-arranged for a simpler sentence structure. I do this to help mildly autistic readers who process language differently. [Anyway YouTube hasn’t done the autotranscript yet]

Almost 50,000 cases per day. Only half fully vaccinated. Told to expect many millions infected over summer with over 100,000 a day. Our government has chosen this even though we have effective vaccines.

We ask experts to respond

Professor Michael Baker. New Zealand

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(click to watch on Youtube)

Always looked to UK for leadership

Remarkable depth of scientific knowledge.

Remarkable clinical trials we are drawing on.

Incredible development of vaccines and rollout.

We are quite astounded that you are doing this despite the amazing expertise you have in the UK.

Remarkable science and so remarkable not following even basic public health principles.

Started with herd immunity.

Seems going back to that approach given that it has failed throughout the globe.

We are quite astounded that you are doing this despite the amazing expertise you have in the UK.

Meier Rubin, - Israel

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Israel has found that a delta carrier child will infect their own family even if they are all double dose vaccinated.

With the delta variant, the percentage of infection of contacts blocked by vaccine is reduced from 90% to 60% for the Pfizer vaccine.

Israel currently has 11 people in ICU fully vaccinated, all above 50.

7 COVID cases died on last few days - all of them fully vaccinated.

Currently we have 850 cases of COVID and half are fully vaccinated. In Israel 2/3 are vaccinated.

Vaccination is very effective but only holds for a while because delta is much more infections.

Before, about 7 -9% had to go to hospital. Now with delta, it’s 5-6%. This difference is less than double.

The doubling time in Israel just a bit over a week.

When we look at the net gain on hospitalization from the vaccination, we end all the gains with one doubling.

So one doubling leads to exactly same situation as before the vaccines.

UK had 54 kids hospitalized yesterday and is running at 37 kids hospitalized a day. average.

In Israel we have so many kids.

No kid in Israel under 12 is vaccinated and over 12 only a few are vaccinated, none fully vaccinated.

Israel’s strategy is still mitigation not elimination.

Reached elimination twice in May 202 and May 2021, lost because not pushing it.

Hope they move from mitigation to elimination.

I think Israel will have lockdown in a few weeks unless we act very quickly now, still hope will do.

Christina Pagel

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Worried about potential for new variant to evade vaccination. Any variant that can evade vaccination has an advantage and will spread. As global travel hub any variant can spread to the world.

Absolutely sure the UK contributed to rise of delta in Europe and South America

Dr William Hesseltine in the US.A

. 662

Always looked to the UK for sensible policies. Unfortunately not the case for COVID pandemic.

Many US States will follow UK example.

Extremely dismayed to see very rapid increase in infections in population vaccinated pretty much like we are. About 50%.

Messages from Israel also extremely disturbing. Even if fully vaccinated must follow serious control efforts and try to eliminate not mitigate.

Vaccines alone are not going to do the job.

Certainly policies that release and open up a country in growing infections are counter productive in the most extreme.

Professor Jose Martin- Moreno - equivalent of UK's chief medical officer in Spain.

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The UK affects the world. It’s a reference.

We cannot understand well why this is happening in spite of the scientific knowledge UK.

This is imitated in other countries.

In Spain our prime minister on 26th June decided to remove mandatory face marks out of doors.

At that time we had only 80 cases per 100,000 now over 500 cases per 100,000.

A natural experiment of disaster we can do if we remove the tools that contain transmission.

Taiwan perspective. Professor Shu Ti Chio.

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(click to watch on Youtube)

We are very surprised to see complete re-open.

Very concerned about young people no chance of being protected. No vaccine approved under age 12

I think everyone regardless of age should have equal freedom from COVID.

The government will have to do something to protect them. I believe they have a political responsibility to ensure young children enjoy the same freedom from COVID.

Although mortality among young people is low.

Long COVID amongst young people is much higher than expected. Italy study - more than 1 /2 age 11 actually at least on symptom after they recovered.

Schools especially associated with high risk.

Taiwan - specially made masks for children at different ages. Apply universal masking in schools and attention for any case in school.

Test, trace, isolation to avoid spread amongst children and to families and communities.

In our culture there is a saying it is unethical to take the umbrella away from people while it is still raining.

Unethical to take umbrella away from people without a raincoat while still raining and raining very hard.

To keep umbrella there for people without a raincoat.

[Interviewer: Dr Gabriel Scally: Our umbrella has holes in it, test trace isolate not working and masks not properly adopted].

Question from Stephanie Boslon reporter from Die Welt, Germany.

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Question - in your view when is the best time to lift restrictions.

Germany very much looking at UK as blueprint, so what is your advice to the German government.

Steven Ducket from Australia

Need pandemic under control and protect the population.

If you don’t have both then exponential rise in cases, hospitalization and death.

In Australia under control but population not vaccinated.

In UK, very good vaccine roll out but not high enough and pandemic not under control so foolish to open up now.

Professor Yaneer Bar-Yam

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Opening up when the pandemic is still propagating doesn’t make sense in terms of protection of the public.

When we should act is now but in the other direction.

To gain control so we can open up safely for the vulnerable - and for everybody as everybody is protected when the pandemic is under control.

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No country has reached vaccination level to open up fully with high cases. Chile had to go back to lockdown twice.

Israel only place managed to open up slowly and carefully under alpha variant but needs restrictions for delta.

So no country has the conditions to open up fully. So just have to wait, still in the pandemic.

Question from Randy Ramesh, of the Guardian

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Guardian : said overwhelming scientific approval on opening up.

Is it only the date - also the manner?

Relying on people to go slow - surely can't be enough?

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(click to watch on Youtube)

Dr Gabriel Scally - as they say in Belfast, a blind man on a fast horse can see this is a strategy that does NOT have the support of scientists universally at all.

I was amazed at some of the comments. That it is a good idea to let the virus go through the population, infect people, make them ill and have them die, so that we got that over with before the autumn.

To go in the summer as it was described.

I thought the comments of WHO’s Mike Ryan about moral emptiness and epidemiological stupidity of a strategy fundamentally based on infecting more people with the virus were absolutely spot on.

I've been a public health doctor for 40 years and never heard of a public health strategy like this.

This is not any concept of public health that any public health officer would really recognize I believe.

Professor Stephen Duckett.

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(click to watch on Youtube)

There is no reputable public health advisor of any kind who would recommend opening up when the virus is spreading rampantly.

It just defies any logic, any science of any kind.

It is a recipe to just accept 40,000, 60,000, 80,000 cases per day is acceptable.

Evidence from around the world, there is no trade off of public health and economy.

Right decisions for public health are right decisions for economy.

What they are doing is stupid on public health terms and stupid for economy.

Professor William Ricardi [also advisor to the UK government]

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(click to watch on Youtube)

To err is human, to persist is diabolical.

This approach was devastating in 2020 and is still devastating now.

Difficult for us to understand why the UK - best public health and epidemiologist in the world -why figures advise in a very wrong manner to the government.

It is international. Flights from London every day to Europe. We have seen the virus spread from the UK over Europe.

You have to speak the truth to the public and especially when you are such an important country and scientific leader.

You have a big responsibility when you are public advisor to a country with such important scientific institutions, such importance scientifically internationally.

Professor Salim Abdul Karim from South Africa

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Delta has a higher R0. When you have a virus with higher R0 the level of immunity you require to suppress it is much higher.

So you need much higher levels of vaccination coverage.

So it is not scientifically sound to ease restrictions in the midst of a rapidly growing epidemic and highly infectious variant because it is going to cause huge numbers of cases.

Professor Michael Baker from New Zealand

. 1892

From a country with no transmission for the last three months.

If you can eliminate the virus entirely that's optimal.

If you can suppress transmission you minimize the health impacts.

Beyond that last resort is mitigation - flattening the curve to not overwhelm the health system.

That’s what astounds me with knowledge of the NHS which is a world leading system.

If the doctors in that system are saying they can't cope with the expected numbers of cases - it’s not just epidemiologists who are saying it doesn’t make sense,. It is the over worked and exhausted members of your whole health system saying the same thing.

That is another point at which you'd question the wisdom of the strategy surely.

Question from Giorgia Scaturo from Il Pato Coti da Iano [?]

Photo from About Me | Giorgia Scaturro

. 1969

You can still die of COVID over 50 fully vaccinated.

Is there any difference in the performance of the vaccines.

Also we learn what not to do, to open too soon. Boris Johnson has a four stages road map to open society. What road map would you suggest instead?

We don’t know which vaccine was given to the ones who died.

We think both AstraZeneca and Pfizer have a high degree of protection against severe disease. Protection against infection is much lower. Laboratory and real world studies suggest that the response amongst those with AZ even 2 doses is lower.

So that leads to question can we vaccinate even if 100% vaccinated.

Overwhelming answer from the scientific community is very likely not unless we have more effective vaccines.

So we need to have mitigations in place. We can't just let the pandemic rip through the population.

Certainly not now at 50% but even not with much higher levels of vaccination.

We need to invest in things like ventilation and to put up messaging that we do need masks in the future. Because this enables us to have the freedoms we need in society and interact with each other in a safer manner and not have the reckless sky-rocketing numbers we have in schools.

Clive Cookston from the Financial times.

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One thing you haven’t mentioned and not mentioned in the letter to the Lancet - perhaps you can address the social and mental health issues.

[We have minor restrictions at present]

Lockdowns are not a pandemic strategy, they are a failure of the pandemic strategy, especially when applied over and over again.

We should listen to the experts here whose countries have aimed for zero COVID and elimination.

The main reason we have these mental health issues is because we haven’t controlled the pandemic.

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Very serious societal implications COVID related PTSD

One aspect not discussed. Success in China. I have two offices in China. Relatively free of COVID stress disorders as their control systems have been very effective. A model of how to control a pandemic in a large country

A shame that for geopolitical stresses don't look more carefully at what that country has done and is doing even with delta.

A country with very large borders, large population and complex system.

The way to avoid COVID stress is to control COVID.

Dr. Gagandeep Kang

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(click to watch on Youtube)

January in India, serosurvey data 55% of major cities already had exposure.

Then had delta variant

55% of exposure in whole population not just adults was insufficient to stop delta variant from sweeping across the country from infections, reinfections and a lot of hospitalization and death.

We now have a vaccine adding to it.

The UK - studies with approaches to address issues of control - seems remarkable you are ignoring the science you yourself are producing when you are opening up.

Cases increasing, children not protected and you have the resources which we did not have to be able to delay the open and to open up with caution.

I think this is hope trumping experience and I hope it does not turn out to be a bad experience for you. But I think it will however.

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If you have restrictions on movement, there is an increase in mental health issues, alcohol and drug use issues and increase in mental health issues.

That is not in dispute.

The question then is what is worse, the impacts on mental health etc versus physical health impacts and hospital system.

So added systems easier to get telesupport for mental health.

Then have to get some call on whether costs on mental health are worth the benefits in terms of hospitalizations and death.

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Economic times magazine "Normalcy index" return to normal social, travel and functioning workspace.

If eliminate then very good return to normal functioning.

Hong Kong and New Zealand and Taiwan.

Similarly also Oxford stringency index.

Countries that use lockdown decisively and strategically spend far less time under lockdown subsequently

New Zealand and Taiwan.

So uses lockdown very strategically in a minimal way to eliminate the virus.

Question from Musato Kamuro - Japanese freelance journalist

. Masato-kimura

. 2686

It seems Boris Johnson doesn't care about hospitalization or mortality.

Why do SAGE believe peak at 1000 to 2000 in hospitalization?

The 1000 to 2000 is based on assuming between 2 and 3 doublings left before the pandemic peaks because there is enough immunity to bring it down over the summer.

A lot of uncertainty as the sage modelers say.

Depends on who is vaccinated, isn't, where it's spreading, new variants.

The models say at worse could be much worse than in January - 4000 to 5000 or higher

Idea top out at 2 or 3 doublings, we don't know. It's an experiment. I think a very bad experiment.

Question from Glen Quinn from the Guardian

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What measures you expect to adopt should a variant arise here - and what recommend to cities in the UK.

[+ do you think it's likely a variant will arise]

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A variant may well emerge but from a much smaller population where immunosuppressed and virus has a chance to experiment.

We don't have a good fix of route of variant creation.

I think any hope this virus has a limited capacity to vary is unreasonable.

The cold causing coronaviruses come back, they have an enormous capacity to vary.

We are just learning how they do it.

Not just the outside, not just the spike.

Alpha - adept at suppressing the immunity later on. Delta aggravate it.

We have a lot to learn and unfortunately we will.

. 2148

Variants are here to stay.

Populations increasingly vaccinated, it’s highly likely we see variants that escape vaccination.

So, need a combination of tools just as we do with HIV and many other diseases. We don't bank on a single intervention like vaccines.

Already we are seeing variants on the delta variant emerging in the form of delta+.

Ensuring we reduce viral replication is part of reducing variants.

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[Surprise when the UK had more cases than the whole of Europe put together that there wasn't more action to stop the spread between them]

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Countries pursuing elimination with rigid quarantine

Eliminating variants - and stratify incoming travelers according to proportion positive and variants.

Turn down numbers because it has a big strain. Allow travels from anywhere in the world but regulate numbers - but we do have quarantine failures at a certain rate so we try to manage that.

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Many believe the government is intent on strategy of achieving herd immunity by a mixture of vaccination and infection.

I'd like to hear from friends across the world about this approach that herd immunity is our way out of this pandemic.

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It has become clean that long COVID is highly prevalent in children even in mild and asymptomatic cases.

We have found significant brain damage including shrinking of parts of the brain after acute infection.

We are still not recognizing - that can be very long term.

We do not know how long it can last but the brain does not heal very well and that's a significant outcome of acute infection.

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(click to watch on Youtube)

I've written that I believe the strategy of herd immunity is actually murderous.

Knowledge that you are doing something that will lead to thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of people dying. That's been the case for some time and to continue to espouse that policy is unconscionable.

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In my country it is impossible to get herd immunity through natural infection.

Because our people will automatically restrict their activities when there is more deaths.

We have better ways to achieve immunity through vaccination.

I believe vaccination is not enough, need to combine with other strategies to get zero covid status and that's the best way to achieve true freedom

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First meeting, March 2020. Suggesting herd immunity.

We thought mad. Best doctors in the world. What for the next of the world.

[First time I screamed at a screen, herd immunity by British Government]

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Biggest problem, an unwillingness to learn from other countries. I don't know if it is arrogance, British exceptionalism, something else, there's this idea we can do it differently but it hasn't worked and isn't working and it won't work.

I hope people will listen and change the discussion from should we open on Monday to what the hell are we doing and how can we bring the numbers down again.

. 3414

Biggest problem, an unwillingness to learn from other countries. I don't know if it is arrogance, British exceptionalism, something else, there's this idea we can do it differently but it hasn't worked and isn't working and it won't work.

I hope people will listen and change the discussion from should we open on Monday to what the hell are we doing and how can we bring the numbers down again.

R0 so high need vaccines at level of MMR for measles before can dream of elimination through vaccination + natural infection which is a barbaric way to do it.

You have to have all these other measures as well.

That's so basic it's remarkable anyone could still promote this other idea

[UK lost status of eliminating measles in 2016 - was shameful system and is that allowed that to happen

It just shows the importance - the path the UK government is taking us along - that so many experts feel so passionately that they are willing to come along to say

I hope we all meet again under somewhat better circumstances]



. Letter in The Lancet from Medics and Scientists ask UK government to delay July 19 lift all restrictions until most vaccinated


I hope that in response to so much adverse comments from the WHO and from international experts that our government may change direction - especially as they face the reality of increasing cases and hospitalizations over the next few weeks.

However the best time to act is now, before we are hit by the worst of our wave. Or rather, a month ago, or more, but always now is better than tomorrow or next week.

Meanwhile there is much we can do to protect ourselves and those around us. #DOITALL. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

With these marvelous vaccines, combined with proven public health measures, this pandemic will end far sooner than it would have done without them, but we can end it much faster if we all act together in solidarity and #DOITALL.

The government does respond, slowly, to public attitudes to what they do. They must have hundreds of emails a day from distinguished professors asking them to change direction. But we can add to those voices by spreading awareness of what is happening.


Science is moving forward in amazing ways. We will soon have vaccines to target the variants, and then 2nd and 3rd generation new vaccines.

We will get over this pandemic, there is light at the end of the tunnel, the WHO are sure of it, but how fast we get there is up to us.

. How science is developing new vaccines to continually defeat COVID variants - marvelous 2nd and 3rd generation vaccines on the horizon - keep transmission low and we can stop the pandemic faster

. Light at the end of the tunnel - we will get out of this pandemic, how quickly we get there is up to us - case of “vaccines and” not “vaccines only”


. Yes fully vaccinated people can still end up in hospital - very effective against severe disease, hospitalization and death, but no vaccine is 100% effective - continue to #DOITALL to protect yourself and stop transmission

. Let's be COVID superheroes, wear masks, and #DOITALL

. Do continue to wear masks after 19th July, the UK “freedom day” - be a superhero and protect those around you and protect yourself - for many of the unvaccinated your risk has never been higher than today


. Debunking some vaccine conspiracy theories


. May be useful to share this tweet for any of you trying to spread awareness of what is happening in the UK.

. Dr Mike Ryan: this is a moment for extreme caution on COVID for countries right now so we don’t lose the gains we have made

. WHO urging extreme caution opening up in regions of high transmission - on a personal level protect yourself - and try to influence your government to listen to the science

. WHO warn now is not the time to rush back to normal - very premature - not enough people vaccinated yet - new variants surging - need to turn it around and bring cases down - or headed for trouble yet again

. Why WHO say we need to suppress COVID globally to slow down evolution of variants of concern - this is not charity


. Yes it’s expected to have a large fraction of deaths amongst fully vaccinated elderly people from the delta variant - vaccination still greatly reduces your risk of dying

. It’s GOOD IDEA to PROTECT YOURSELF from COVID more than your government recommends - you also have responsibilities to your family, loved ones, and friends