Britain’s daily Covid cases have risen above 20,000 for the second day in a row and hospitalisations have crept up slightly — but deaths dropped again in a clear sign the country is reaping the rewards of its vaccination drive.

Health chiefs posted another 20,479 infections today, an increase of 76 per cent in a week from the 11,625 recorded last Tuesday.

It was only slightly below the 22,868 cases reported yesterday, but Public Health England said these had been pushed up by a technical glitch which meant some infections were announced a day after they were spotted. 

In a clear sign vaccines are working Covid deaths remained low after another 23 were recorded, down 14 per cent on the 27 from last Tuesday.

Hospitalisations ticked up after 265 new admissions were recorded on June 23, the latest available, but this was only a slight increase of 17 per cent in a week.

For comparison, the last time there were more than 20,000 cases a day in late January as the second wave began to die down there were more than 1,000 virus deaths and 2,000 hospital admissions every day.

It comes as Downing Street today took a more hardline approach to ending lockdown on July 19, with Boris Johnson telling his cabinet that the country will have to ‘learn to live with Covid’.

Amid clear signals that ministers are set on scrapping the remaining restrictions in three weeks come hell or high water, the Prime Minister highlighted that the link between infections and serious illness and deaths has been significantly weakened.

Downing Street said the Cabinet – including new Health Secretary Sajid Javid – ‘agreed that once we have completed the road map, we will be able to live with Covid in the future, even if cases continue to rise, thanks to the protections provided by the vaccine.’

Office for National Statistics figures published today showed weekly Covid deaths had risen slightly in England last week but that the virus was still responsible for fewer than 100 fatalities every seven days.

They said 74 people died directly from Covid in England over the week to June 18, up 12 per cent on the previous period. Wales recorded no deaths from the virus for the first time since the pandemic began. 

Downing Street will take no decision on whether July 19 will go ahead until a week beforehand, on July 12. But in recent days ministers have been making a series of high-profile announcements that leave little doubt that the decision has effectively already been made.

Yesterday Mr Javid said July 19 would be the ‘end of the line’ for England’s lockdown as he demanded ‘a return of the economic and social life that makes this country so great’. 

He is seen as a lockdown hawk and he could help alter the balance in Cabinet in favour of a fuller return to pre-lockdown life.

Amid clear signals that ministers are increasingly set on ending draconian restrictions in three weeks come hell or high water, the Prime Minister highlighted that the link between infections and serious illness and deaths has been significantly weakened.

Amid clear signals that ministers are increasingly set on ending draconian restrictions in three weeks come hell or high water, the Prime Minister highlighted that the link between infections and serious illness and deaths has been significantly weakened.

Amid clear signals that ministers are increasingly set on ending draconian restrictions in three weeks come hell or high water, the Prime Minister highlighted that the link between infections and serious illness and deaths has been significantly weakened.

Fewer than one in 1,000 patients are dying from Covid now compared to one in 90 during second wave 

Fewer than one in a thousand people who catch Covid in England now die from the disease, according to scientists at Cambridge University.

They estimate the overall infection fatality rate (IFR) of coronavirus has been driven down to 0.085 per cent thanks to the country’s hugely successful vaccine rollout. 

This graph shows the proportion of people who catch Covid that are dying from the disease by age group. The rate has fallen markedly among older people, who are most at risk from the virus, since the vaccine roll-out began in January

This graph shows the proportion of people who catch Covid that are dying from the disease by age group. The rate has fallen markedly among older people, who are most at risk from the virus, since the vaccine roll-out began in January

This graph shows the proportion of people who catch Covid that are dying from the disease by age group. The rate has fallen markedly among older people, who are most at risk from the virus, since the vaccine roll-out began in January

For comparison, the team at Cambridge’s Medical Research Council (MRC) biostatistics unit estimated that about one in 90 cases (1.1 per cent) resulted in death at the end of the second wave.  

In the most vulnerable over-75s group, the IFR is now thought to be under 2 per cent after plummeting from 17 per cent during the winter peak in January.

Experts told MailOnline that while the findings were encouraging, the death rate will likely increase in the coming weeks as a result of the rise of the Indian variant. 

The MRC ‘nowcasting’ unit estimates the number of infections that lead to fatalities based on official data including daily Covid cases, deaths and hospital admissions. It also takes into account asymptomatic cases who are missed by the centralised testing scheme.

Dr Simon Clarke, a microbiologist at Reading University, said it was likely the number of infections leading to deaths would rise in the coming weeks because of the rapid rise in cases over the past two months.

‘We also have got to remember that what we are dealing with now is an increasing situation (of cases) and an increasing rate of infection,’ he told MailOnline.

‘Most people who have had the infection are in the early stages of it so they won’t have died yet.

‘I think it will go up later on, but it won’t go anywhere near the one in 90 (at the peak of the second wave), but I expect more than one in a thousand.’

Asked whether the July 19 easing was likely to go ahead, he said this would ‘probably’ happen.

‘There is evidence — good evidence — it seems that the vaccine is working and the vaccines are protecting’ against serious disease and death, he added.  

<!—->

Advertisement

He made his Commons debut after replacing Matt Hancock and immediately ruled out an early end to lockdown in a week’s time.

But he was far more bullish about the restrictions being scrapped in three weeks time.   

He told the Commons: ‘I spent my first day as Health Secretary just yesterday looking at the data and testing it to the limit.

‘While we decided not to bring forward Step 4, we see no reason to go beyond July 19, because, in truth, no date we choose comes with zero risk for Covid.

‘We know we cannot simply eliminate it, we have to learn to live with it.’ 

Earlier today Home Secretary Priti Patel said we will have to ‘adapt our lives accordingly’ in order to get freedoms back while at the same time living with coronavirus.

‘Look, I would love to take the mask off – but at the right time, I will do that,’ she told Times Radio Breakfast.

‘We are living with coronavirus and many of us have been saying this across Government, probably for the last 12 months actually, we are living with this virus, we’re in a pandemic.

‘Yes, we have the vaccine, there’ll be boosters at some stage, booster jabs as well, so we are adapting our way of life.

‘I think to look to getting our freedoms back, which of course we all dearly want, we are adapting how we live and that means living with the concept of this pandemic, the virus, and obviously we adapt our lives accordingly.’

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman today told reporters that ‘as with other diseases such as the flu we will have to live with the virus’. 

When he was asked whether this meant that the Government would be comfortable with an annual death toll similar to flu, he said: ‘That is just factual, the number. That is not a target or number that the Government sets.’

There were  22,000 deaths associated with flu in England in the 2017/18 season, Public Health England figures show.

The Government will continue to publish daily coronavirus figures once restrictions have been lifted, according to Downing Street.

Asked if this is expected to continue, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman told Westminster reporters: ‘Yes. We will continue, and are continuing, to provide these updates through the dashboard that provide an important level of transparency to the public and ensure understanding how we are progressing.’

Asked how long this could go on for, the spokesman added: ‘We will keep it under review as we go forward but clearly now it is entirely right that we continue to provide this level of data and transparency to the public as the world continues to fight this pandemic.’

In England, 102 people who died in the latest week had Covid mentioned on their death certificate, up from 84 a week earlier. But only 74 of them were caused directly by the virus, with the others dying from other causes, the ONS said. 

In total, there were 9,459 deaths registered in England and Wales in the most recent week, meaning just 0.78 per cent were caused by Covid – the equivalent of one in 127.

The fact weekly deaths have risen just 12 per cent in the past week despite cases quadrupling over the past two months highlight just how well the vaccines are severing the link between Covid infections and fatalities. 

The Department of Health posted another 22,868 infections yesterday which was more than double the number a week prior. But there were just three deaths registered.

In a clear sign of the ‘vaccine effect’, the last time cases were at around 22,000 and rising was in early December, when there were roughly 400 Covid deaths a day and the second wave was starting to spiral.

Did we REALLY need to delay Freedom Day?

The number of people being admitted to hospital with Covid in Britain every day is half of what SAGE predicted earlier this month, according to official data that raises doubts about whether pushing ‘Freedom Day’ back was necessary.

Modelling by the expert group used to justify the month-long delay said that daily hospitalisations would be at 530 by this time already, and could rise to 2,000 a day over summer if the June 21 unlocking went ahead.

But currently the UK is only seeing 223 Covid admissions per day, despite the Indian variant rapidly spreading and daily infections reaching a five-month high of 22,868 yesterday.

Covid inpatient numbers were also predicted to increase to around 37,000 by the start of August, but they currently stand at just over 1,500. 

The same models predicted daily deaths could reach nearly 300 per day at their peak this summer. Covid deaths have remained under 30 per day since April 24 and plunged to just three yesterday.

SAGE has often been criticised for its modelling of the crisis, which predicted a quarter of a million deaths during the initial wave of the pandemic. 

No10 said at the time that delaying June 21 was a cautious move in case the Indian variant sparked a wave of hospitalisations and in case the vaccines were made significantly weaker by the strain. 

It has since been shown that two doses of AstraZeneca’s jab cuts the risk of hospitalisation by up to 92 per cent, while the figure for Pfizer’s was even higher at 96 per cent. 

The encouraging numbers come as a Government scientific advisor said the UK has to ‘get on with life’ and learn to live with the virus.

Professor Robert West, a member of the Spi-B subgroup of SAGE and health psychologist at University College London, said we have to treat Covid in the same way we do traffic accidents, making the environment is as safe as possible but accepting some risk and trusting people to act safely on their own accord. 

Britain’s daily Covid cases more than doubled in a week yesterday but deaths plunged 40 per cent to just three — in another clear sign the vaccines have severed the link between infections and fatalities. 

The last time cases were at around 22,000 and rising was in early December, when there were roughly 400 Covid deaths a day and the second wave was starting to spiral.  

 

<!—->

Advertisement

Today’s ONS data also shows that, across England and Wales, flu and pneumonia are killing three-and-a-half times as many people as Covid.

Statisticians at the ONS sort all death certificates registered in England and Wales to record those that mention Covid and whether it was the main cause of death or the person had the virus alongside another illness. 

The national agency’s figures lag behind the Department of Health’s daily total because it can take around two weeks to formally register a fatality, sparking a delay.

Death certificates list underlying factors — the conditions thought to be responsible for the fatality — but also mention other conditions thought to have contributed to the fatality but not to be the main factor behind it.

The highest increase in Covid deaths was reported in the North West of England, but the region only recorded seven more deaths than the week before, 21 up from 14.

More people died from the virus compared to a week earlier in Yorkshire and The Humber (12 up from six), East Midlands (11 up from 10), West Midlands (eight up from seven) and the South East (16 up from 12). In the South West (3), North East (3), East (9) and London (19), the number of deaths stayed the same. 

None of the 573 deaths registered in Wales in the week ending June 18 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the ONS. The last time this happened was in the week ending March 13 2020.

Earleir this month top scientists admitted coronavirus will never be eradicated and Britons will need to learn to live with the virus even if it causes hundreds of deaths a day.    

Independent experts seeking to manage expectations before restrictions are lifted told MailOnline that achieving zero Covid deaths was ‘impossible’ and that the focus should be to bring them down to levels comparable with flu — which kills roughly 17,000 people in England annually and up to 50,000 in a bad year. 

The comments were echoed by Michael Gove, who said 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 when the country unlocks on July 19.   

There has been fierce debate about what level of Covid deaths would be ‘tolerable’ when Britain emerges from the shutdown. One of the Government’s top scientists, Professor Graham Medley, said it was ‘quite possible’ there could be hundreds each day post lockdown, although current figures are way below that.

Professor Karol Sikora, an expert in medicine at the University of Buckingham, told MailOnline: ‘All deaths are very emotional and upsetting… but it’s important we embrace Covid like we have other viruses because it will become a normal feature in society. 

‘We should consider it a success if we bring it [Covid deaths] down to levels comparable with flu deaths every year. We will never achieve zero Covid.’ 

Cambridge University epidemiologist Dr Raghib Ali told MailOnline that once July 19 comes and most of the adult population have been given a vaccine: ‘It’s my view that we will be in as strong a position as we ever will be. Prolonging restrictions beyond that point doesn’t achieve much.’

Asked what an acceptable number of Covid deaths would be, he added: ‘If you look at deaths and excess deaths from influenza, the Government tolerates numbers up to about 50,000 [per year].’

Earlier Home Secretary Priti Patel said we will have to 'adapt our lives accordingly' in order to get freedoms back while at the same time living with coronavirus.

Earlier Home Secretary Priti Patel said we will have to 'adapt our lives accordingly' in order to get freedoms back while at the same time living with coronavirus.

Earlier Home Secretary Priti Patel said we will have to ‘adapt our lives accordingly’ in order to get freedoms back while at the same time living with coronavirus.

How many Covid deaths will be acceptable? 

There has been fierce debate about what level of Covid deaths would be ‘tolerable’ when Britain emerges from the shutdown — but one of the Government’s top scientists, Professor Graham Medley, said it was ‘quite possible’ there could be hundreds each day post lockdown.

Professor Karol Sikora, an expert in medicine at the University of Buckingham, told MailOnline: ‘All deaths are very emotional and upsetting… but it’s important we embrace Covid like we have other viruses because it will become a normal feature in society.

‘We should consider it a success if we bring it [Covid deaths] down to levels comparable with flu deaths every year. We will never achieve zero Covid.’

Cambridge University epidemiologist Dr Raghib Ali told MailOnline that once July 19 comes and most of the adult population have been given a vaccine: ‘It’s my view that we will be in as strong a position as we ever will be. Prolonging restrictions beyond that point doesn’t achieve much.’

Asked what an acceptable number of Covid deaths would be, he added: ‘If you look at deaths and excess deaths from influenza, the Government tolerates numbers up to about 50,000 [per year].’

 

<!—->

Advertisement

Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, told Times Radio: ‘We have to accept that this virus will circulate, and it will be the case, unfortunately, that in winters to come we will find that people contract it or subsequent variants and they will fall ill.

‘Unfortunately there are respiratory diseases, including flu itself, which do every year result in an upsurge of people being taken into hospital, and in some cases suffering tragic consequences.’ In a separate interview with BBC Radio 4, he said ‘we’re going to have to learn to live with Covid’.

It came as pupil absences due to Covid surged again this week, indicating the worst disruption to education since March, as No10 confirmed it was considering scrapping pupil bubbles and replacing mandatory isolation with daily testing.

New official figures released today show 384,500 pupils – one in 20 – were at home self-isolating on June 24. 

Of these 278,500 were suspected of coming into contact with someone with Covid at school, up from 171,600 the previous week – a rise of 62 per cent.

Another 56,800 had a suspected contact outside the classroom, while 23,800 had actually tested positive for Covid themselves, up from 16,100. 

The figures are likely to fuel concerns that requiring children to isolate if someone in their bubble catches Covid, even if they themselves test negative, is crippling the education system. 

Data shows 6% of secondary school children were off school for a Covid-related reason – the highest figure since March – and up from 4.2% on June 22. 

In secondary schools, only 82.4% attended class, down week-on-week from 84.9%, while 90.9% of pupils attended primary school, down from 93.0%, according to the Department for Education. 

Downing Street today said that it intends to publish a review into whether to replace self-isolation rules in schools with regular testing at the same time as the review into social distancing.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters: ‘Our intention is to publish this together and provide certainty to the public. If we are able to do that, that’s what we intend to do.’

Earlier today, schools minister Nick Gibb said ministers hoped that mass testing would reduce disruption to children’s education, including removing the need to self-isolate for 10 days if another pupil in a bubble tests positive with Covid.

But leading a backlash to the new proposals, teaching unions blasted ministers for giving ‘absolutely no consideration’ to the logistical challenge involved, and suggested there would be ‘chaos’ when schools return in September.    

Meanwhile, Laura MacInerney, founder of Teacher Tab, a daily survey of teachers’ opinions, said there was concern about the proposals among school staff who had not received both jabs. 

Disturbing footage emerges of anti-lockdown mob outside Chris Whitty’s home shouting ‘murderer’ and ‘traitor’ day before he was put in a headlock by yobs in London park as police probe incident amid calls for better security

Chris Whitty was branded a ‘traitor’ and a ‘murderer’ by lockdown sceptics who gathered outside his home on Saturday – a day before he was put in a headlock by two thugs.

A huge crowd marched on the Chief Medical Officer’s flat in central London and yelled abuse from the street as some swigged beer.

The mob blasted horns and shouted through megaphones towards the epidemiologist’s apartment as they stood across the road.

Footage of the protest emerged on social media today after it was revealed Prof Whitty had been attacked by two thugs on Sunday night.

The latest incident saw the two men follow the scientist and put him in a headlock as he walked through St James’s Park in the capital.

Boris Johnson slammed the ‘despicable harassment’ and said public servants ‘should not have to face this kind of intimidation’.

Priti Patel said she was ‘horrified’ by the ‘appalling’ attack – the third time the Chief Medical Officer has been accosted in just four months.

The Home Secretary said it was important Prof Whitty got the support he needed but refused to reveal if he will now get greater levels of protection.

Yet a firm of private security experts told MailOnline he should have police protection, ‘certainly with the recent history of incidents towards him’.

They added someone that high profile is ‘at risk of being targeted by many groups, such as the anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, or those that have lost their jobs, friends, or family members due to Covid-19’.

Sunday’s incident is the second time Prof Whitty has been attacked this month after a man harassed him in the street in Oxford and accused him of lying about coronavirus.

He was also rounded on by a young thug in February, who uploaded his video to TikTok and was later scolded by his mother.

Meanwhile last week an anti-vaxxer protester filmed himself yelling abuse at Jonathan Van-Tam while accusing him of ‘genocide’ and lying to Britons.

A huge crowd marched on the Chief Medical Officer's flat in central London and yelled abuse from the street as some swigged beer on Saturday afternoon

A huge crowd marched on the Chief Medical Officer's flat in central London and yelled abuse from the street as some swigged beer on Saturday afternoon

A huge crowd marched on the Chief Medical Officer’s flat in central London and yelled abuse from the street as some swigged beer on Saturday afternoon

The mob blasted horns and shouted through megaphones towards the epidemiologist's apartment as they stood across the road

The mob blasted horns and shouted through megaphones towards the epidemiologist's apartment as they stood across the road

The mob blasted horns and shouted through megaphones towards the epidemiologist's apartment as they stood across the road

The mob blasted horns and shouted through megaphones towards the epidemiologist's apartment as they stood across the road

The mob blasted horns and shouted through megaphones towards the epidemiologist’s apartment as they stood across the road

Footage from Saturday’s march shows the anti-lockdown protesters gathered outside Prof Whitty’s home in central London.

They stood on the road – where flats sell for up to £12.5million – and some drank beer as they branded Prof Whitty a ‘murderer’ and ‘traitor’ for his work during the pandemic.

They hurled the insults at the top epidemiologist’s home through megaphones and clasping their hands around their mouths. It is not clear if Prof Whitty was at home.

Joel Smalley, who said he attended the ‘freedom rally’, tweeted: ‘Most of those appalled by the activity throw insults at those conducting it like they are all ignorant and brainwashed by ”conspiracy theories”.’

He added: ‘Kind of ironic given that the marchers have probably done more research! I know, I was there.’

While the demonstrators shouted their bile at Prof Whitty’s home, thousands of others were taking part in an anti-lockdown rally outside Downing Street.

The footage surfaced today hours after it emerged Prof Whitty had been harassed in St James’s Park on Sunday night.

A 16-second clip emerged last night of the moment the two men wrapped their arms around the epidemiologist’s head. They cheer and yell as they tackle the top scientist while continuing to film his stunned reaction.

A Metropolitan Police squad van is seen in the background of the video and the force confirmed officers spoke to the individuals and got their details.

But members of the public rounded on the Met and asked why the thugs were only spoken to and not arrested on the spot.

The video shows the yobs cheering and yelling as they start their attack on the scientist. They both appear to be trying to restrain him as he struggles to get free from their grasps.

While one of the two thugs continues to yell at the camera, another can be heard shouting: ‘Please, sorry, one photo.’

Prof Whitty looks terrified throughout the clip as he tries to walk away from the men who repeatedly try to grab him and film him. As the video ends, a voice off camera can be heard saying: ‘Leave the gentleman alone.’ 

Two thugs harass Professor Chris Whitty in a London park

Two thugs harass Professor Chris Whitty in a London park

Two thugs harass Professor Chris Whitty in a London park

Two thugs harass Professor Chris Whitty in a London park

This is the moment two thugs appear to grab government advisor Professor Chris Whitty and put him in a headlock as they harass him in a park as he grapples with them to get away

Chief Medical Officer for England Prof Chris Whitty is seen walking past the Department of Health and Social Care in London on Monday afternoon

Chief Medical Officer for England Prof Chris Whitty is seen walking past the Department of Health and Social Care in London on Monday afternoon

Chief Medical Officer for England Prof Chris Whitty is seen walking past the Department of Health and Social Care in London on Monday afternoon

What personal protection do Cabinet ministers get and could Chris Whitty have the same?

Cabinet ministers are given more personal protection than their colleagues due to the increased profile of their role.

They are privy to officers from the Metropolitan Police’s elite Protection Command while in office.

The specialist unit has two branches – Royalty and Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection.

These officers are licensed to carry firearms with them at work, unlike most police in Britain.

The Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection branch take care of high-profile ministers and also control access to Downing Street.

PC Keith Palmer was in the unit when he died outside the Palace of Westminster in 2017.

An unnamed personal protection officer assigned to the then Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon shot and killed the attacker.

Wayne Couzens, who was arrested over the death of Sarah Everard, was also in the branch.

The role is perhaps best known to the public by the thriller series Bodyguard, which came out in 2018.

Officers are in a pool and they may not protect the same person on different days after the Royalty and Diplomatic protection was merged a few years ago.

It is not clear if an officer from here would be appropriate for Prof Whitty, but Priti Patel vowed to ‘look at what we can do to support him’ when asked about his protection.

Asked if she thinks he needs security measures, she said: ‘I can’t speak about that but it’s important that we make sure that Chris is given the right kind of support.’

<!—->

Advertisement

Mr Johnson condemned the two men on social media this morning tweeting: ‘I’m shocked at seeing the despicable harassment of Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty.

‘I condemn the behaviour of these thugs. Our hard-working public servants should not have to face this kind of intimidation on our streets and we will not tolerate it.’

Meanwhile Ms Patel told Times Radio: ‘I’m just horrified by that, I really am. Chris is just a remarkable public servant, a man who has been leading the whole coronavirus response – nationally, yes, he has a high profile, and I think he’s an incredibly respected figure.

‘I’m horrified by what has happened to Chris and the police are actually involved as well and we’re also speaking to Chris to look at what we can do to support him, it’s just appalling.’

Asked if she thinks Prof Whitty needs security measures, she said: ‘I can’t speak about that but it’s important that we make sure that Chris is given the right kind of support.

‘It’s terrible to see such an important public figure, someone that day in, day out, has been serving our country in the way in which he has to keep us safe, being subject to just appalling abuse.’

The attack sparked calls for scientific officers to get the personal protection offered to senior politicians after they were launched into the limelight by the pandemic.

Managing Director of Westminster Security John Moore told MailOnline he thought the top scientist needed to be looked after.

He said: ‘I think Prof. Chris Whitty should have police protection certainly with the recent history of incidents towards him, this should have been in place already.

‘But also, being such a prominent figure and essentially the face of the Government during the pandemic, the frustrated public will naturally blame him for the ongoing lockdown saga.

‘I believe someone as high profile as him is at risk of being targeted by many groups, such as the anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, or even those that have lost their jobs, friends, or family members due to Covid-19 and the lockdown. Especially as he is not currently receiving protection, hopefully that will change as of today.’

He added: ‘The protection Prof. Whitty receives should be in line with the threats and risks highlighted recently, this could be a combination of 24-hour residential security at his home, a police advanced driver-trained security chauffeur and police armed bodyguard(s).

‘Private security may be utilised to compliment and plug gaps where the police are unable, but this is unlikely, predominantly it will be the Met Police Protection Command that would provide the security and covert armed bodyguards from Royalty and Specialist Command (RaSP).’

Other politicians and public figures slammed the attackers after the video was viewed more than half a million times online.

They called for an investigation into how the shocking incident could happen and for a greater protection for the country’s leading advisers.

During the terrifying video, Prof Whitty looks concerned as he tries to escape their grasp while the thugs appear to laugh off his attempts

During the terrifying video, Prof Whitty looks concerned as he tries to escape their grasp while the thugs appear to laugh off his attempts

During the terrifying video, Prof Whitty looks concerned as he tries to escape their grasp while the thugs appear to laugh off his attempts

Politicians and public figures have slammed the attackers after the video was viewed more than half a million times online

Politicians and public figures have slammed the attackers after the video was viewed more than half a million times online

Politicians and public figures have slammed the attackers after the video was viewed more than half a million times online

Controversial comic Lee Hurst is ‘reported for incitement’ after backing the thugs who put Chris Whitty in a headlock 

Lee Hurst has been ‘reported for incitement’ after backing the thugs who put Chris Whitty in a headlock.

The controversial comic, who rose to fame on They Think It’s All Over, tweeted this morning: ‘Whatever has happened to Chris Whitty is not enough.’

The 57-year-old from Sittingbourne, Kent, went on to launch an expletive tirade about what he would like to do to the Chief Medical Officer.

He added: ‘You support a regime that slaughtered thousands in care homes so I think you have the edge.’

Lee Hurst has been 'reported for incitement' after backing the thugs who put Chris Whitty in a headlock

Lee Hurst has been 'reported for incitement' after backing the thugs who put Chris Whitty in a headlock

Lee Hurst has been ‘reported for incitement’ after backing the thugs who put Chris Whitty in a headlock

Hurst was slammed by social media users and panned by many of his 18,000 followers.

One wrote: ‘You seem to be inciting violence against a scientist. Reported.’

Another put: ‘You should be grateful to him. Thanks to the 30 person limit, your tour can officially be classed as a sell-out.’

And one said: ‘I’d rather listen to someone who has five medical degrees, still does his rounds and worked on Christmas Day on a virus that he will slightly know more about than a washed up ‘comic’. You’ve never had an edge.’

Tell Mama UK, which records anti-Muslim incidents, added: ‘We have flagged this abhorrent tweet from Lee Hurst regarding Professor Chris Whitty and encourage others to do the same.’ 

<!—->

Advertisement

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi tweeted: ‘This is disgusting and these thugs must be found and charged. ‘Zero tolerance for harassing a public servant.’

Newly appointed Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘I’ve seen the video of the CMO being harassed. It’s appalling and totally unacceptable.

‘The CMO works tirelessly on behalf of the country. We will not tolerate this sort of behaviour towards our public servants. The men behaving in this disgraceful way should be ashamed.’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: ‘This is disgusting behaviour. Chris Whitty is a dedicated public servant who has worked tirelessly to help get us through this crisis. The police are right to investigate this harassment.’

Labour MP Jess Phillips said Prof Whitty had been made to feel ‘awful and uncomfortable’ and issued a reminder that public figures ‘are human beings’.

She said: ‘Even if you perceive it as non violent it is clear that he felt awful and uncomfortable and resisted. Public figures are not dolls, they are human beings, it is stunning how easily this is forgotten.’

Schools minister Nick Gibb told Sky News he hoped the ‘whole weight of the law will come down on people that engage in that kind of behaviour’.

He said: ‘I think this thing is absolutely appalling and I’m sure all your viewers and the general public will absolutely condemn the behaviour of these yobs.

‘Chris Whitty has done a fantastic job throughout the pandemic in advising the government of the necessary measures to keep our NHS safe, to save lives.

‘He has been a very effective chief medical officer during that period and those scenes should not have happened.’

Asked if Prof Whitty should be afforded close protection, Mr Gibb said it was a ‘matter for the security services and for Chris Whitty’. He added: ‘Those scenes should never have occurred in our society – absolutely wrong.

‘People, whatever role they have in government, should be able to walk along the street, walk through the park unaccosted by that kind of behaviour. It should not happen in a free, law-abiding society like ours.’

Former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal also weighed in on the incident and claimed the men ‘were radicalised by others’.

He posted: ‘I won’t share the Chris Whitty being abused video, but I know that if he was the statue of someone with a dubious past, he would have a dozen strong security detail.

‘The offenders were radicalised by others – they share the blame. This is just the latest incident of harassment involving the Chief Medical Advisor.’

NHS GP partner Dr Ayan Panja wrote: ‘Awful. Poor Chris Whitty. He remained calm and professional unlike his harassers who must be appropriately reprimanded.’

Piers Morgan branded the latest attack on the Chief Medical Officer ‘disgusting’. Presenter Adil Ray said on Twitter: ‘This is an utterly disgusting way to treat a person who has devoted his time to save our lives.

‘These complete and utter imbeciles must be found and dealt with. Meanwhile Boris Johnson please provide Chris Whitty with security.’

News presenter Simon McCoy added: ‘This is a complete disgrace. Chris Whitty should be protected from idiots like these.’

Channel 4 news presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy shared the footage and wrote: ‘It should not be hard to identify the men harassing Chris Whitty in this video.’

A Met Police spokesman said: ‘We’re aware of a video being shared online showing an incident in St James’ Park on Sunday, June 27.

‘Officers spoke to all those involved at the time and their details were taken. We are in contact with the victim and the circumstances continue to be investigated.’

But social media users asked why the police squad van seen in the footage did not react to the attack. One said: ‘With a police van in the background? They were there.’

Another put: ‘If the attack on Professor Chris Whitty isn’t assault, what is? He was physically manhandled by a group of thugs, who clearly knew what they were doing (they noticed the Police Van), against his wishes, he looked scared.’

And one more added: ‘He is clearly distressed and there’s a police van in background, what were they doing just sitting in there laughing!’

Leave a Reply

WP Radio
WP Radio
OFFLINE LIVE
%d bloggers like this: