England's colourful deputy chief medical officer calls time on role

Van-Tam, 57, used analogies of flying, football, and rail travel to explain the state of the battle against the pandemic, winning praise for his clear communication of complex issues. He famously warned the public not to “tear the pants out of it" when the government began the easing of COVID lockdown restrictions.


Reuters | London | Updated: 13-01-2022 15:40 IST | Created: 13-01-2022 15:40 IST
England's colourful deputy chief medical officer calls time on role
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  • United Kingdom

England's deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam, whose his use of colourful metaphors and similes became a hallmark of the British government's COVID-19 news conferences, announced on Thursday he would resign from his role. Van-Tam, 57, used analogies of flying, football, and rail travel to explain the state of the battle against the pandemic, winning praise for his clear communication of complex issues.

He famously warned the public not to “tear the pants out of it" when the government began the easing of COVID lockdown restrictions. Britain's health minister Sajid Javid said it had been "an honour" to work with him and he was "hugely grateful for his advice". Matt Hancock, the former health minister, called Van-Tam "one of the best public health communicators in history".

His announcement comes the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued an apology for an event held at his official Downing Street residence during the first national lockdown. But the resignation was understood not to directly relate to parties or policy, The Times newspaper reported.

Van-Tam, who was awarded a knighthood in the New Year's honours list for his services fighting the pandemic, is set to return to the University of Nottingham, where he has been on secondment from since 2017. He will continue to work for the government until the end of March.

"We all wish COVID had never happened. Notwithstanding, it has been the greatest privilege of my professional career to have served the people of the UK during this time," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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