Government easing lockdown too early, risking a second peak - former science advisor

30 May 2020, 10:55

UK is easing lockdown too early, former Chief Science Advisor warns

By Seán Hickey

The government is making a mistake by lifting lockdown and is risking a second peak.

Professor Sir David King joined Matt Frei to share his view on the government's plan to ease lockdown restrictions on Monday. The former Chief Scientific Adviser was worried that the government has not gotten the balance right between lockdown ease and lowering cases.

He told Matt Frei that "the quickest way to get out of this epidemic is to stay in lockdown for longer" and believed that the government's actions so far will lead to the UK going back into lockdown.

Matt pointed out to the former chief science adviser that "Spanish Flu had second wave that was much worse" and Sir David said that this could be echoed in the UK's coronavirus response.

Professor King added that the reported "8000 new infections every day is in England alone" and is a suggestion that the level of infection in the UK is too high for an ease of restrictions. "We have to wait at least two more weeks to get the level of infectivity in the country down" he argued.

Referencing the track and trace system which is due to start on June 1st, Sir David was sure that the government should "not lift the lockdown at all until we know we can do the test trace and isolate process" which he believes to be a long way away.

The former science adviser believes the lockdown ease will result in another lockdown
The former science adviser believes the lockdown ease will result in another lockdown. Picture: PA

Matt pused the former chief science adviser on the point that Boris Johnson has made that the UK's five tests have been met. He wanted to know if Professor King agreed with the suggestion, to which he said that he "quite clearly" doesn't.

Sir David pointed out the great work the public have done to lower the R number to below one and hinted that a premature lockdown ease will mean the number rising above one again "To risk losing that is simply a dereliction of duty" Professor King said.

He shared the great shame he felt that the UK has the highest infection rate per head of population and warned that "we are at risk of going even higher if we risk easing this lockdown too soon."

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