A government science advisor said encouraging the public to visit bars and restaurants and then close these places when cases of Covid-19 virus rise is not a “reasonable way to deal with the epidemic.”
Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Emergencies Scientific Advisory Group (Sage), has urged a long-term strategy when it comes to balancing the economy and the pandemic.
The current national lockdown measures in England mean that places like pubs, bars and restaurants have been forced to close but are expected to be allowed to reopen when restrictions are lifted.
Edmunds raised concerns about the “flip” between incentives like Eat Out To Help Out and lockdown.
“We need to take a long-term view, be reasonable and realize that we will have to impose restrictions for some time,” he said.
“Yes, we can raise it when it is safe to do so, and that will be primarily when large numbers of people are vaccinated.
“But flipping between encouraging people to socialize, which you do by encouraging people to go to restaurants and bars, in exchange for closing them immediately again, is not a very reasonable way to deal with the pandemic.”
Under current plans, a tiered regional system is set to replace the national lockdown when it expires on December 2.
Edmunds, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said it was “too early to judge” if the current restrictions were lifted.
But he said that going back to the lowest warning level of the Regional Level System, Level 1, when the lockdown ends would be “extremely unwise.”
He said: “The problem with the level system is that Level 1 does not do much at all, and Level 2 will likely have some effect, but not much, and Level 3 appears to be able to withstand the epidemic.”
“ The problem with the stratum system is that you inevitably end up with far too many places with a high infestation rate under these conditions.
“Level 1 and Level 2 eventually drifted down to Level 3 with a high percentage, then Level 3 keeps it there. It wasn’t a very well thought out idea by strategy frankly.”
The comments come after the government said another 462 people had died within 28 days of testing for the Covid-19 virus through Saturday.
As of 9am on Saturday, there were another 26,860 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, down slightly from an increase of 27,301 cases on Friday.
Meanwhile, Labor has called for emergency legislation “to eliminate the dangerous content of anti-vaccination” after the promising preliminary results from the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. The opposition claimed that anti-vaccination groups with hundreds of thousands of members on social media were “spreading disinformation.”
Elsewhere, another Sage member said the next two weeks will be “extremely critical” in ensuring that the coronavirus lockdown ends as planned.
Professor Susan Michie, a behavioral scientist at University College London, urged the public to resist violating current rules, to be in a position to spend the holidays with loved ones.
“So I think in the next two weeks, everyone should put all their design together,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
Michi suggested that announcing a possible Covid-19 vaccine could lead to complacency with the lockdown, adding that a jab would not make a difference to the current wave.