Infectious disease expert "concerned" after Prime Minister's daily briefing

30 September 2020, 18:54

By Fiona Jones

After the Prime Minister hosted a coronavirus daily briefing this afternoon, University College London's lead scientist Oksana Pyzik in infectious diseases explained why she is "concerned" with what she heard.

Speaking from Number 10, the Prime Minister said the country was at a "critical moment" and that he would not hesitate to a bring in new measures if required.

But he said he wanted to avoid another national lockdown.In a stark warning, the Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said the UK was heading "in the wrong direction" and it is "absolutely critical" people follow the restrictions.

Ms Pyzik said: "I am concerned what I heard out of Number 10 today, we do see that the rate of hospital admissions is rising that rapidly. Alongside that the testing capacity is actually getting worse and we do see that trend - for a while now."

She continued: "What I was also concerned to hear from today's conference was the fact that intent to isolate is low, that the general trust in the Government seems to be eroding. I'm worried these messages may not be going far enough."

One reason for the messages not penetrating the public is these daily briefings are not happening often enough, she suggested.

"That makes it extremely difficult for people to realise the true picture and the true risk of how quickly things can escalate," Ms Pyzik continued, "by that point it becomes too difficult to allow staged measures because it's gone so far ahead that you can only implement something that's quite aggressive, like we saw in March."

Read more: Boris Johnson press conference: Scientists say Covid-19 is 'not under control yet'

"I did sense from the CMO and the CSA a real sense of trepidation that a lot of lives will be lost if more serious measures are not taken in to consideration."

The scientist said local response and flexibility "implemented effectively" will be the way to prevent national lockdown.

Especially, she said, as we are heading towards winter and scientists do not know the risks of co-infection with flu, for example.

She reflected that it is good that the Prime Minister pledged to host more briefings so that the UK can "shake off the complacency" from the summer months.

More Eddie Mair

Eddie Mair scrutinises Tory MP who backs Liz Truss over her stance 'on woke'

Eddie Mair scrutinises Tory MP who backs Liz Truss over her stance 'on woke'

Furious caller clashes with climate scientists over 'pointless' net-zero targets

Furious caller clashes with climate scientists over 'pointless' net zero targets

Eddie Mair lists Ministers with the power to oust Boris Johnson

Eddie Mair lists Ministers with the power to oust Boris Johnson

'Horrific': LBC listeners reveal chilling experiences of stalking

'Horrific': LBC listeners reveal chilling experiences of stalking

'Scotland is inept': Scottish caller furious over idea of IndyRef 2

'Scotland is inept': Scottish caller outraged at idea of IndyRef 2

Texas Republican: Ensuring doors work properly will stop school shootings

Texas Republican: Ensuring doors work properly will stop school shootings

'You don't need a crystal ball!': Furious Eddie Mair corners Tory MP on cost of living crisis

'You don't need a crystal ball!': Furious Eddie Mair corners Tory MP on cost of living crisis

Exclusive
Kremlin chaos: Putin 'constantly surrounded by doctors' as illness throws regime in disarray

Putin 'constantly surrounded by doctors' as illness throws Kremlin into chaos

Tory MP: 'Oil companies have a cartel monopoly' over consumers

Tory MP: 'Oil companies have a cartel monopoly' over consumers

Jack Monroe slams Tory MP's 'abhorrent' food bank comments

Jack Monroe slams Tory MP's 'abhorrent' food bank comments

Tory MP accuses peer of 'hyperbole' over anti-protest bill concerns

Tory MP accuses peer of 'hyperbole' over anti-protest bill concerns

'Prime Minister in waiting!' Starmer saluted after Covid fine resignation pledge

'Prime Minister in waiting!' Starmer saluted after Covid fine resignation pledge

From Covid infection to being fined: Eddie Mair's painstaking timeline on partygate and Boris

From Covid infection to the fine: Eddie Mair's painstaking timeline on partygate and Boris

Partygate fines: Eddie Mair grills Tory MP Sir Roger Gale over PM future

Partygate fines: Eddie Mair grills Tory MP over PM's future

'He set the rules and broke them!' Eddie Mair's tense clash with caller defending PM

'He set the rules and broke them!' Eddie Mair's tense clash with caller defending PM

Sir David Amess' murderer achieved 'absolutely nothing', campaigner declares

Sir David Amess' murderer achieved 'absolutely nothing', campaigner declares