‘It’s better to do it now’ Government scientist says national lockdown for England is needed ASAP

Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) member Professor Jeremy Farrar said he believed coronavirus vaccines will be available in the first quarter of next year.

Prof Farrar told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday that it was important for the country to now try and reduce transmission to the levels seen back at the start of September.

The Wellcome Trust director said: “I do believe the vaccines will be available in the first quarter of next year, I do believe that monoclonal antibodies to treat patients and save lives will be available in the coming months.

“It’s with that context that I think we need to reduce transmission now and we need to get ourselves back to the beginning of September as a country, not in piecemeal, not in fragments across the country, but as a whole country.”

The “second best time” for a national circuit-breaker lockdown is now, according to Professor Farrar.

He said it was “never too late” for national restrictions, adding: “It’s better to do it now, than in a month’s time.”

He said: “In my view the best time to do this would have been around 20th September as Sage advised, that wasn’t decided upon then.

“The second best time to do this is now and the worst time to do this is at the end of November when things would have really got considerably worse.

“So it’s never too late, it’s better to do it now than in a month’s time.”