close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
June 1, 2020

It’s too soon to lift lockdown, scientists warn UK govt

National

June 1, 2020

LONDON: Top scientists advising the government on its coronavirus response have warned that it is too soon to lift lockdown measures next week and the move risked causing a second wave of cases, foreign media reported on Saturday.

Ahead of a sunny weekend, three experts broke ranks to voice fears about easing restrictions from Monday as the COVID-19 infection rate remains relatively high, with some 8,000 new cases per day.

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), warned that Boris Johnson's decision to allow the public greater freedom was "risky", highlighting uncertainties about the effectiveness of the government's test and trace programme.

His concern was echoed by Sir Jeremy Farrar, another Sage member, who said "COVID-19 spreading too fast to lift lockdown in England". Another Sage member, Professor Peter Horby, also weighed in to warn it was "fragile time" and there was "very little headroom" before the number of cases shot up again.

Downing Street said it had "at all times been informed by the data and evidence" in making decisions. These striking interventions reveal mounting alarm from scientists about the prospect of a second spike, and come amid concern that the controversy over Dominic Cummings' alleged breach of lockdown rules has diluted the government's public health message.

Prof Edmunds, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told Sky News: "I think it's risky for a couple of reasons. "One, I think the reproduction number is only just below one and so there's not a lot of room for manoeuvre and so small changes can put that reproduction number up above one." He added: "I think the other more important thing is that we still have a lot of cases here in this country.”