Jonathan Van Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, who has become a household name during the coronavirus pandemic, has resigned.
Van Tam, a professor of health protection, has repeatedly joined British Prime Minister Boris Johnson from Downing Street in televised press conferences on the coronavirus and the measures needed to quell the virus.
He became well known for his clear talk with explanations which often include similes of a mathematical nature.
The news will be a blow to Johnson. The prime minister is facing calls for his resignation after he admitted on Wednesday that he attended a garden party at his Downing Street residence in May 2020 when the UK was in lockdown.
“I have been honored to work with JVT and am very grateful for his advice and the vital role he has played in our vaccination programme,” chirp Health Minister Sajid Javid.
Van Tam returns to the University of Nottingham, having been on assignment as DCMO since 2017.
He described his time in this role as the “most challenging” of his career, especially the COVID response.
“We all hope COVID never happens,” he said in a statement. “Despite that, it has been the greatest privilege of my career to serve the people of the United Kingdom during this time.”
Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said Van Tamm was “a prominent DCMO and government employee”, adding: “His connection to public health advice and science has been fantastic”.
Van Tam was awarded a knighthood in the latest New Year’s honors for his services to public health. He will take up the position of Vice-Chancellor of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Nottingham.