'Government has to enforce a national lockdown': health psychologist

14 October 2020, 17:33

By Fiona Jones

Health psychologist and member of Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours Professor Robert West told LBC that the Government "has to" enforce a lockdown in order to fix Test and Trace system.

This came after the PM unveiled a three tier lockdown system that gives region specific restrictions, while the Labour leader called for a two week "circuit-breaker" national lockdown.

Professor Robert explained that Sir Keir's pandemic response of a circuit breaker lockdown was "closer to the mark" due to the data he has seen.

"I don't believe SAGE is confident that the measures that Boris Johnson's announced would get R substantially below one, and that's what needs to happen...otherwise we're going to see infections maintained at their current level or more likely increasing exponentially," he said.

The professor told Eddie Mair that even if the rate of increase was slowed, "that is not enough economically and from a public health point of view."

"We have to bring in...the only thing that made a big difference back in March and that is to reduce contact between people," he said.

A circuit-breaker "doesn't do anything" specifically to quell the virus it just "buys you time" to put other measures in place, he said, and this time must be used to "get a Test Trace and Isolate system that is functioning."

"The Government has to do that."

Eddie asked how long it would take to fix the Test and Trace system to which the professor responded that the infrastructure "has always been there in local authorities" to deal with this and some are even "begging" the Government to give them the tools to gain control.

"I don't think it would take that long... I think it could almost certainly be done within the period we're talking about for the kind of circuit breaker we're talking about," Professor Robert said.