"Boris Johnson should not ease lockdown with current track and trace system"
23 June 2020, 15:48 | Updated: 23 June 2020, 19:21
The government's former Chief Science Adviser insisted that the UK should not ease lockdown until an effective track and trace system is in place.
Professor Sir David King is a member of independent SAGE and former Chief Science Adviser. He spoke to Iain Dale about the government "one metre plus" amendment to social distancing, which sees further lockdown easing which will allow many amenities to reopen on July 4th.
"There's a real concern that impatience with the lockdown can lead to a second wave" Professor Sir David began, expressing his doubts over the plans of the government. He told Iain that this rush to ease restrictions will "not only will put us into lockdown again, but it will be much longer before we get back to a normal way of life."
Professor Sir David told listeners that "we cannot move out of lockdown until we have a fully operative find, test, trace isolate and support system in place and we know we haven't got that"
He said that the best system of tracing in the UK will be when virtually every new case is contacted and every new case is put into isolation. "That's not happening at the moment, it's not even close to happening."
Iain argued that there are other European countries that have eased lockdown and "they don't seem to be in danger of any second spike" but Professor Sir David came back with the point that "they all have a test and trace and isolate system fully up and running and fully operational and that's the difference."
The independent SAGE member reminded Iain that the UK's health system is localised and the government's response to coronavirus has been to have a central response, which is incompatible with the needs of the healthcare system.
He suggested that should the response matched the NHS system "the number dwindles down to something that can be locally managed."
He went further to point out the faulty system of tracing currently in place, telling Iain that "most of those 25,000 people are telling us they're not doing anything from one day to the next" and if the UK wants to safely ease lockdown this has to change.