"We're worse off now than before lockdown" UK not ready to bring distance to one metre

21 June 2020, 11:05

By Seán Hickey

A member of independent SAGE insisted that Britain is not equipped to reduce social distancing to one metre.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak hinted that social distancing will be reduced to "one metre plus" which will mean the compulsory wearing of face masks.

Professor Susan Michie, the director of the Centre for Behaviour Change at UCL and a member of the behavioural sub-committee of SAGE and member of the Independent SAGE spoke to Andrew Castle about the news and told him it was an irresponsible decision.

"The key issue is that we do not have a functioning test, trace and isolate system in place. Without such a system in place it means we can't deal with the inevitable outbreaks that are already happening in the UK.

"Because other countries have that in place that they're able to reduce the distancing to smaller than two metres but if we don't have that in place then it's highly risky to put this at one metre rather than two."

Professor Michie told Andrew unequivocally "the UK should not be lifting any restrictions."

Professor Michie said that the UK is not equipped to ease lockdown
Professor Michie said that the UK is not equipped to ease lockdown. Picture: PA

Andrew told Professor Michie that he didn't agree, pointing out that the WHO only recommended one metre distancing. The independent SAGE member clapped back saying that "that's one metre where there's a test trace and isolate system in place."

"The reason that other countries have been able to successfully deal with one metre is because they had other very strong measures in place" Professor Michie added, reinforcing the argument that the UK has fallen behind the rest of the world in their coronavirus response.

"We're in a worse situation than when we locked down initially."

The independent SAGE member accepted that "there is no such thing as a safe situation or a risk-free situation" but in this scenario, the UK is not equipped nor ready to relax restrictions.

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