New Covid cases “could go as high as 100,000” a day after restrictions in England ease on 19 July, said Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
Mr Javid told BBC Radio 4’s Today that “what matters more than anything is hospitalisation and death numbers, and that is where the link has been severely weakened”.
The Health Secretary has also updated MPs on the latest plans for easing restrictions after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the lifting of Covid rules in England are expected to take place in just under two weeks.
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The Health Secretary announced on Tuesday (6 July) that people who are fully vaccinated will not have to self-isolate if they are a close contact of a coronavirus case from 16 August.
Mr Javid told MPs that from 16 August, anyone who is a close contact of a positive case will no longer have to self-isolate if they have received two doses of a vaccine and have given the second jab a fortnight to take effect.
'We are gradually breaking the links in the chain between community cases and severe cases in hospital'
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the lifting of Covid restrictions in England is expected to take place on 19 July.
Social distancing measures and the requirement to wear face masks are also set end on this date.
The Prime Minister acknowledged there may be 50,000 new cases a day by that point, but said if legal limits on gatherings and laws requiring the wearing of masks were not lifted this summer they may have to remain in place for another year.
Professor Calum Semple, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) told Times Radio: “We do have good data now that does indicate we are gradually breaking the links in the chain between community cases and severe cases in hospital.”
He added: “I should point out, looking at the data last night, 88% of people in hospital, from what I could see, had not been vaccinated or had had the vaccine but hadn’t had the chance to develop immunity, so that’s within 28 days of the vaccine.
“There’s now an incredibly strong signal that the vaccination is working and protecting the vast majority of people.”
Government adviser, Professor Neil Ferguson, told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “What we do know is in the second wave there was a certain ratio between cases and hospitalisations and that ratio right now is being reduced by more than two-thirds, as we get more second doses into people it will go down even further.
“Even more positively, the ratio which we saw in the past between case numbers and deaths has been reduced by more like eight to 10-fold.
“So the third wave, even if the number of cases per day gets very high, we’re still likely to see lower numbers of hospitalisations and deaths than we saw back in December and January just gone.”