"We will delay lifting lockdown to protect NHS from second peak" - Tory MP

27 April 2020, 18:17

By Seán Hickey

As the Prime Minister reassumes office, some confusion arose when the mention of the five tests strategy came up.

Andrew Bowie, Conservative MP for Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine joined Eddie Mair on the line today and conversation moved from the Prime Minister's return to work to the five tests of lifting lockdown.

Mr Bowie began the conversation by telling Eddie just how impressed he was by the Prime Minister's motivational speech on the steps of Downing Street, describing it as "peak Boris".

Eddie pressed an issue more urgent in his view. He wanted to know about the PM's "five tests he reiterated today" in particular the final test which has sparked some confusion. The fifth test is for the avoidance of a second peak, Eddie wanted to know "in this context what is a second peak".

The Conservative MP told him that the main idea of the final test is to "make sure no measures taken risk a second peak" and that the "decision is to be made by government and medical professionals" collectively after assessing all information available.

Eddie was confused by the notion, clarifying that "it's not about stopping numbers going up, its stopping numbers going up so high to overwhelm the NHS".

The risk of a second peak will delay the lifting of lockdown
The risk of a second peak will delay the lifting of lockdown. Picture: PA

Mr Bowie insisted that it is "always the objective" to limit the number of deaths by coronavirus but in this case being cautious of a second peak will "frame how we take decisions moving into the second phase".

Mr Bowie added that "nobody wants to see the numbers rising again" but insisted that "if there is a rise in numbers" the government must be sure that "it will not overwhelm the NHS".

"The government's determined to prevent as many people as possible from contracting coronavirus" the Conservative MP told Eddie Mair.

He reiterated that any decision on lifting lockdown in any case "must be taken by the medical experts, scientific experts and officials" collectively, with the decision ultimately falling at the feet of the Prime Minister.

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