‘This is Jonathan Van-Tam, over’: top scientist ends press conference answers like a truck driver 


‘This is Jonathan Van-Tam, over’: deputy chief medical officer appears at No10 briefing from self-isolation due to a ‘household contact’- before bizarrely ending his answers to questions like a truck driver

  • The deputy chief medical officer appeared on television from home 
  • Told viewers: I’m actually self-isolating due to a household contact’ 
  • Did a decent impression of a truck driver – ending erudite answers saying ‘over’

He’s developed a cult online following through his straight-talking appearances at Downing Street press conferences.

And tonight Professor Jonathan Van-Tam managed to create a stir online even from -self-isolation.

The deputy chief medical officer appeared on television via videolink from home and did a decent impression of a truck driver – ending all his erudite answers by saying ‘over’.

The mannerism was noted by viewers watching on television online who took to Twitter.

Appearing remotely alongside NHS England’s medical director Stephen Powis, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock chairing the press conference in person,  he said: ‘I’m sorry I can’t be with you personally, I’m actually self-isolating due to a household contact.’

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer appeared on television via videolink from home

He did a decent impression of a truck driver - ending all his erudite answers by saying 'over'

He did a decent impression of a truck driver – ending all his erudite answers by saying ‘over’

The mannerism was noted by viewers watching on television online who took to Twitter

The mannerism was noted by viewers watching on television online who took to Twitter

Professor Van-Tam warned infection rates will pick up again if the public ignore any guidelines put in place around Christmas.

‘If people don’t (follow the guidelines) then the first scientific principle is things will go back up again. There is dual responsibility here. There is no magic number about how many days it is going to cost us,’ he told the No 10 press conference.

Prof Van-Tam said he believed they were on the ‘glide path’ towards rolling out a vaccination programme.

‘Do I believe that we are now on the glide path to landing this plane? Yes I do,’ he said.

‘Do I accept that sometimes when you are on the glide path you can have a side wind and the landing is not totally straightforward, totally textbook? Of course.’

It came as Mr Hancock revealed coronavirus vaccines will start to roll out next month if one is approved by the British drug regulator.

The Health Secretary said at the TV briefing that the Government has officially asked the regulator, the MHRA, to consider licensing the vaccine made by pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and BioNTech.

A late-stage study this week confirmed that the jab was 95 per cent effective in clinical trials and appears to protect people of all ages from coronavirus.

The £15-a-dose jab is currently the odds-on favourite to be approved first by the MHRA, although candidates from Moderna and Oxford University are close behind.

It comes as Britain today confirmed another 20,252 positive coronavirus test results and 511 more people have died. While cases are down – a drop of 26 per cent from the 27,301 recorded last Friday – deaths are continuing to rise, with today’s 511 a 36 per cent increase from 376 this time last week.

Professor Van-Tam said today that the UK is ‘waiting’ for the watchdog’s authorisation to use the vaccine and said it would ‘happen at the speed of science’.

Leaked NHS plans today revealed that even those in the lowest risk group – healthy adults under the age of 55 – may be able to start getting vaccinated in just two months’ time if everything goes to plan.

The files say all pencilled-in dates for vaccines are dependent on the arrival of supplies – with up to seven million doses expected next month – and are based on NHS proposals to create huge GP-run facilities to deliver the shots.

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