Disease X could ‘kill off pubs’ as experts warn ‘now is time to pay attention’

Disease X could kill off Britain's pubs and "now is the time to pay attention", a top scientist says.

Prof Lidia Morawska said our booze-loving way of life is at risk from a pandemic potentially worse than Covid.

The UN has dubbed it Disease X but politicians will ignore the danger once lockdown is over, the academic told the Daily Star.

She told us that she and "many, many scientists" have spent the last year frustrated with governments over the danger of airborne viruses.

Prof Morawska has now urged booze-lovers to tell Boris Johnson to put in new laws to keep us safe in indoor public spaces such as shopping malls, offices and pubs.

She insists it'll save our NHS "billions" every year by slashing deadly Covid and the winter flu infections.

Figures show that almost 10,000 licensed premises – including pubs, clubs and restaurants – closed permanently as lockdown devastated the hospitality sector last year.

Prof Morawska said: "Covid is not the first pandemic in human history and therefore expecting it would be the last would be a naivety.

"If you invest in better ventilation now you would save billions in NHS funds.

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"Lockdown was the hardest lesson we could imagine and it will be a lesson that will be forgotten very, very quickly as soon as the world goes back to normality so now is the time to pay attention.

"The pubs were closed, everything was closed. If we knew what we were doing the lockdowns possibly wouldn't have been as hard as they were and life would have been easier.

"Now is the time to make sure it doesn't happen again."

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It comes amid rising fears that a surge in the Indian Covid variant will delay Britain's roadmap out of lockdown.

Prof Morawska, of Queensland University of Technology, added the mutating virus could become a seasonal bug that needs regular new vaccines like the flu.

She said: "It's impossible to predict what's going to happen, influenza mutates every year and there's a new vaccine so if this is going to be like that with Covid we don't know.

  • New smartphones to 'detect Disease X' before it takes over the world like Covid

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"If Brits tell the government we need better ventilation to be protected the government will do it, if people don't care then they won't."

The aerosol physicist is among dozens of scientists to have called for a "paradigm shift" from the World Health Organisation on airborne diseases in a paper released on Thursday.

She added: "I devoted the past year working towards this with the group of our co-authors of this paper and many many many other scientists who were putting as much pressure on governments as possible.

"We all have to put pressure on the governments but at the end of the day governments do what the people tell them to do."

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