'Draconian' lockdown measures 'ruining the UK economy' warns SAGE adviser

17 October 2020, 18:54

By Seán Hickey

This health expert warned that the UK's current coronavirus strategy is ineffective in fighting the spread of Covid-19, and a 'circuit breaker' lockdown could be only solution.

Robert West is Professor in Health Psychology at UCL's Institute of Epidemiology and Health, and a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours, which advises SAGE.

He told David Lammy that the Government's current strategy of a three-tier lockdown will not work to stop the pandemic running riot in the UK.

"With the levels of restrictions we have at the moment, which are pretty draconian and are ruining the economy, we'll still see the R value above one," he warned.

Professor West added that continuing with the three-tier system is "simply not an option."

He said that because "we've wasted several weeks" of not going into a circuit breaker lockdown, a two week lockdown may not be enough to stop the spread.

Professor West believes the best solution for the UK could be a circuit breaker lockdown
Professor West believes the best solution for the UK could be a circuit breaker lockdown. Picture: PA

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"It seems possible, if not likely, to leave it longer - about four weeks or so."

David Lammy pushed the expert on whether a circuit breaker could be the antidote the UK needs. He wondered if "families are going to be meeting up over Christmas," if the Government act fast.

"If the Government does all the right things and listens to what all the experts are saying, what the WHO is saying and what other countries are doing then the answer is yes, if they don't, probably no."

Professor West noted that above all, "the test trace isolate system needs to be brought under local authority control so it can operate effectively," which could manage the spread of the virus better in future.

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