Beth Rigby slammed Boris Johnson for “hugely restricting” the lives of the public and “testing their patience” despite positive news from the Government that the vaccination programme has drastically reduced deaths and cases in the UK. The political editor warned that many may ignore lockdown advice from the Government as a sign of frustration. The Government also announced that coronavirus hospitalisations and deaths have fallen thanks to the vaccination programme and urged those eligible to return for their second jab in April.
Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, Ms Rigby said: “You’ve asked a lot from the British people over the past year and now even as the vaccination programme is rolled out and cases are at their lowest levels since last October.
“You are still hugely restricting our personal lives and our liberties.
“Do you accept that you are testing the patience of the public and are you concerned that people will stop listening?
“And to Professor Whitty, with over 30 million adults now having received a jab you said another Covid surge would be met with a wall of vaccinated people.
“With that in mind, are we really at risk of a third-wave like we are seeing in continental Europe?”
The Downing Street briefing was held in the Government’s new £2.6million media room where they fielded questions from journalists.
Some restrictions were eased on March 29 as people must now follow the rule of six outside but are no longer told to stay at home.
The Government also said it was “confident” that everyone eligible would be able to receive their second vaccine jab in the next 12 weeks as over 30 million people receive their first.
Around 3.5 million people have had their second dose already.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson replied to Ms Rigby: “I accept that and I know how much the Government has asked people in the last year.
“But I also know what incredible patience and fortitude that people have responded.
“It’s my view, Beth, that people are determined to continue to do that and they do understand the need for caution.”
However, many have been keen to point that Beth Rigby herself broke Covid rules last year, which saw Sky News take her off air for three months.
One Twitter user wrote: “When we had Cummings/Barnard Castle gate.. I liked the fact that Beth Rigby gave the Gov & Cummings himself hard hitting q’s… But since Beth herself had not taken the rules seriously I can no longer take her questions seriously… Think it’s a cheek she is asking q’s like this.”
Another said: “The irony that Beth Rigby asked this question, as correct as it was, as people have stopped caring and I don’t blame them.
“But didn’t she not bother sticking to the rules 7 months ago anyway?”
And a third wrote: “‘Restricting our personal lives’ Beth Rigby of sky news #irony.”
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Professor Whitty answered his question regarding the “wall of vaccine” and emphasised it was “critical” that people received their second vaccine.
But the advisor said it was not a solid wall but a “leaky wall” that would be let down by those who choose not to be vaccinated.
He warned that a big wave would lead to a “significant” effect on everyone – even those vaccinated – and that a slow incremental easing of lockdown would allow any Covid wave to be reduced.
Professor Whitty concluded and said it was inevitable to see a rise in cases when lockdown restrictions were eased and it would be a while until the UK is fully protected.