An advisory scientist on the official SAGE panel has urged Boris Johnson to impose a three week ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown – including schools.
Professor Susan Michie criticised the government’s current local strategy as ‘confusing’ and also fostering a sense of injustice in the country.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain, Prof Michie said some of the problems were arising because different restrictions were being imposed in different areas – for example in Liverpool gyms were shut while in Lancashire they were allowed to open.
But Prof Michie said that at this point even schools need to be closed – even though the government insists it doesn’t want another national lockdown.
Prof Michie said: “The only way for us to get out of this pandemic is to have less contact between human beings because viruses jump from one person to another.
“In order to do that we’re going to have to restrict the contact between us far beyond what we’ve been doing to date which is what the Scientific Group in Emergencies (SAGE) advised the government one month ago.”
GMB presenter Kate Garraway asked: “Does that work best in a national situation or best in a focused local situation.”
Prof Michie replied: “Well what we’ve seen with the local restrictions is a lot of confusion where different regions are being asked to do different things, there’s a lack of predictability – we don’t know what’s going to happen when and in what regions, and there’s a perceived unfairness in that there’s a bit of a north south divide opening up where people in the north feel they’re being harder done by than under the national lockdown restrictions.
“In this situation where you’ve got confusion, uncertainty and also perceived unfairness all of those things will undermine adherence so I think at this stage we do need to move towards what the scientific advisory group in emergencies recommended one month ago to a national circuit breaker of I think it would now have to be three weeks and should include schools ie be over an extended half term.”
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Communities & Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick said, when asked about a national lockdown: “We don’t think that’s a sensible way forward. Obviously we’ll keep things under review but it doesn’t seem sensible because we see such wide variations in the concentration of the virus.”