Infectious disease expert brands lockdown easing a "gamble"

23 June 2020, 19:13 | Updated: 23 June 2020, 19:21

By Fiona Jones

Senior doctor Bharat Pankhania explains why he believes the government's lockdown easing is premature and a gamble.

Boris Johnson hosted the final regular daily press conference today, outlining a string of new lockdown relaxations which will come into place from 4 July, inlcluding the reopening of pubs and restaurants.

The Prime Minister also announced a "one metre plus" social distancing rule will be introduced on the same day, meaning that a two metre social distancing should be maintained where possible and if not people should still remain at least one metre away from others and take "mitigations to reduce the risk of transmission."

READ MORE: What are the new coronavirus lockdown rules in England? LBC explains

Dr Bharat Pankhania said these measures have been introduced prematurely, "but there's nothing we can do about it."

"So my advice is let's identify the people at risk and tell them please be ultra careful and everyone else to be also ultra careful with regard to not introducing infection to the vulnerable people," he said.

Infectious disease expert Dr Bharat Pankhania brands lockdown easing a "gamble"
Infectious disease expert Dr Bharat Pankhania brands lockdown easing a "gamble". Picture: LBC/PA

"The evidence is there for us to all see: we have our case numbers in the community ranging from 12,000 to 60,000 every week. The virus is out there in circulation.

"Furthermore, the Chief Medical Officer said it, the testing and the contact tracing systems are getting better. They're not at full capacity and they're not working as well as they should be so I feel our homework hasn't been done.

"And the people infected are only 5% so there's 95% of the people waiting to get infected.

"Putting all those things together, I feel of course this is early. This is a gamble. It could lead to a rise in the number of cases very suddenly."