End of shielding "could end in tears" amid delay in lockdown easing

1 August 2020, 10:43 | Updated: 1 August 2020, 10:44

Dr David Strain on the difficulties of lockdown messaging

By Seán Hickey

This medical expert highlighted the confusion surrounding the Government's coronavirus advice, as shielding ends today, but lockdown easing is on hold.

Dr David Strain is Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School and he was speaking to Andrew Pierce as the Government announced that lockdown easing is to be delayed amid a rise in coronavirus cases.

While England delays lockdown easing, Andrew found it strange that people that have been shielding are still allowed to come out of isolation. He wondered if this was down to medical advice or not.

"There has been a divergence between some of the scientific advice and some of the government advice," Dr Strain said.

"The Government are making decisions not just based on Covid but on the health of the economy and the health of the nation," the medical expert added, stating that he doesn't necessarily agree with this approach.

Dr Strain was concerned that people that have been shielding will have to come out of isolation as cases rise
Dr Strain was concerned that people that have been shielding will have to come out of isolation as cases rise. Picture: PA

Dr Strain told Andrew that if the UK stayed in lockdown for four or five extra weeks "we could have gotten to a stage of near viral eradication where there's less than one in a million cases," which would have put us in a similar position to New Zealand.

Andrew argued that many shielding people might look at the numbers and just ignore the advice to come out of lockdown. Dr Strain pointed out that the law is no longer on the person's side.

"As soon as shielding is officially paused, employers can start insisting people come back to work."

Andrew asked the expert if "this is going to end in tears," using the confusion around lockdown easing as the point that could risk a rise in cases.

"We've seen our numbers starting to climb," said the expert, "people are talking about a second wave when we're not even out of the first wave yet," suggesting we have a lot of work to do in fighting the virus before we can look at how we come out of the pandemic.