Professor Russell Viner responds to COVID-19 update from CMO and CSO

Russell comments on today's press conference by Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Officer.

Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said:

This morning's press conference by the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Officer set out ​the latest data on COVID-19, and a new phase that we must face together. We will get through the next six months, but we must redouble our efforts to stop the spread and isolate the virus. We must protect at-risk groups and we must do everything we can to keep schools open. In addition to hands, face, and space - I strongly encourage parents to make sure vaccinations are in order, including the flu vaccine. This will help protect children, families, and the NHS as we face into a tough period.

Children and young people have experienced an unprecedented amount of disruption to their lives and education. The prospect of having to close schools again, in the midst of winter, is not a happy one and must be avoided. Our responsibility as individuals and to each other is clear. Government must also steady the ship, urgently repair ​capacity and confidence in the testing system, and streamline what has become a confusing set of public messages.

The CMO also clearly stated the need to protect non-COVID services. To do this we need to again suppress the virus, resource the NHS, and protect and support our people.